NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – New York Cares has New Yorkers helping fellow New Yorkers during the coronavirus pandemic, from the food insecure to disabled children.
Gary Bagley, executive director of New York Cares, said it’s the spirit of New York that has kept him optimistic through the outbreak.
“Nobody steps up and helps their neighbor like a New Yorker,” Bagley said.
New York Cares has so far put more than 15,000 hours into helping New Yorkers, from seniors to families of disabled children through virtual and on-the-ground programs. They range from wellness calls to tech support and virtual fitness classes.
In the past month and a half, New York Cares has also delivered almost as many meals as it did in all of 2019.
For an organization that has helped New Yorkers through 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and now the coronavirus pandemic, Bagley said what separates this challenge from previous ones is the prolonged isolation and the mental health issues it can cause.
“What happened immediately is probably going to continue for a while,” Bagley said of social isolation, job loss and the burdens placed on the health care system.
Communities in the South Bronx, eastern Queens and central and eastern Brooklyn are the organization’s next priority to help.
“Rebuilding and then continuing the improvement process that’s happening in the schools, the nonprofits and the other institutions in those neighborhoods,” Bagley said.
But what the organization needs aside from donations is more volunteers.
“There can be a lot of energy around helping out in the short-term and then, you know, volunteer interest starts to wane a bit, people get back hopefully to their day-to-day lives,” Bagley said.