Difference Makers: LI woman helps bring together elderly friends with Zoom


EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A Long Island woman took it upon herself to make sure all her older friends could continue to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic.

Polly Hammer, a member of the Meadowbrook Women’s Initiative, says she and her friends used to meet regularly on Long Island and when the pandemic struck, she got the idea to try out Zoom – but she new it would take some time.

“We’re going to try this new thing, and if you can’t get on, which I knew most of them wouldn’t be able to, I’ll give you some help,” she explains.

Most of the women are retired and some are in their 90s.

“We’re talking about people who basically have trouble sending an email. Or even a text,” Hammer said.

But after hours, days, even weeks, she got them up to speed – more than 100 of them all together.

Now, twice a week, Judy Fishman says she has something to look forward to during these unprecedented times.

“We all feel isolated. I’m a single person and there are a lot of single people who are housebound,” Fishman said. “Although, I do try to have my hair done.”

There are guest speakers, lifelong learning, charity work, not to mention a feeling a human, if virtual, touch.

“It’s a wonderful thing because I am basically on personal lockdown, and I know that every Monday and Thursday I have someplace to be,” says another member of MWI Linda Susman.

Hammer is very proud and happy with the results.

“I have given them an existence at this time when they had pretty much nothing,” she says.

And, the women get to show off their new tech savviness to their kids and grandkids.