As Port Washington emerges from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Community Chest issued a report that recounts the heroic efforts of Port residents, who came together to help over 1,400 of our community’s most vulnerable residents endure through the pandemic.
By late March of 2020, spearheaded by the Community Chest, hundreds of volunteers, donors, elected officials, community organizations and businesses worked selflessly to help their neighbors amid the fear of a potentially fatal virus that had no cure. Together they launched the COVID-19 Community Response Fund and established the COVID-19 Community Response Working group to address an ever-evolving list of needs spawned by the Pandemic.
At the height of the crisis in April of 2020, with over 30,000 cases that claimed more than 1,300 lives in Nassau County, Port Washington volunteers worked tirelessly to save the lives of their neighbors in so many ways. These included delivering food and supplies to food pantries and highly vulnerable seniors, making over 2,000 cloth masks and setting up vaccination appointments.
The COVID-19 Relief Fund provided over $318,000 to help Port residents who were suddenly unemployed to attain food and other essentials. In total, over 400 families and 1,400 individuals in Port Washington were helped.
According to Community Chest President Drew Hershkowitz, “The COVID-19 relief effort was one of the most important efforts ever undertaken by the Community Chest and reminds all of us of the true meaning of the people of Port helping the people of Port.”
The Pandemic also brought persistent underlying needs of vulnerable community members into sharp focus. One such need- the demand for diapers and other personal care items-remains in short supply in our community’s food pantries.
The Nicholas Center Navigators (young adults on the autism spectrum), who had been instrumental in delivering these items during the Pandemic, will launch a new program called Port Provides, Powered by The Nicholas Center to gather, assemble and deliver these supplies to pantries in Port.
“The Nicholas Center Navigators are honored to take over the food pantry program so generously started by the Community Chest during the Pandemic,” said Nicole Sugrue, executive director and co-founder of The Nicholas Center. “We have neighbors in tremendous need. Our participants (who are all adults with autism) understand the importance of their work for Port Provides to deliver goods for these 1,400 vulnerable Port Washington residents. The spirit of neighbors raising up neighbors is at the heart and soul of our organization —which strives to integrate adults with autism into our community in fulfilling ways. We welcome financial support and donations, so that we can continue this inspiring and vital local program for as long as it is needed.”
A Go-Fund Me account has been established to support this important community program. Donations may be made via: Port Provides, Powered by The Nicholas Center at GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/port-provides-powered-by-the-nicholas-center or by calling: 516-767-7177, ext. 420.
—Submitted by the Community Chest of Port Washington