The Y Continues to Provide Essential Services Amid City Shutdown
Amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, New York State ordered 100% of non-essential work to take place from home or close for the interim, in an effort to flatten the curve and help prevent the further spread of the disease.
While we made the difficult decision to temporarily cancel all non-essential in-person programs, the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) continued to provide critical food to seniors — 961 grab-and-go and 588 delivered meals — during the last two weeks alone. “This reflects the Y’s commitment and concern for others at a very deep level,” said Martin G. Englisher, the Y’s chief executive officer. “Each meal saves a person from hunger and comes with love.”
“Our seniors are not only receiving hot meals, but they also are greeted with smiles, kind words, and an abundance of compassion,” said Victoria Neznansky, the Y’s chief development and social services officer. “Meals have been lovingly prepared, neatly packed, resting in food warmers, waiting to be picked up. While some seniors are still allowed to leave their homes for essentials, others who are unable to go out patiently wait for meals to be delivered.
“Even though many of our seniors have experienced great tragedies during their lives, nothing could have prepared them for this new situation. Their stories have greatly impacted the staff and me, and I’m sure they will touch your heart.”
“I was four when the war broke out,” shared one of our regular senior diners, sobbing and somewhat disoriented as she walked in from her nearby home. “Everyone is dead, and I am hungry and alone. Please help me. I am alone.” She tightly clutched her bag and shared her story, and then she realized she was safe at the Y — her home away from home — holding a hot meal, comforted by familiar faces.
“It is with a proud heart that I know the Y is here for Mina, for Anatoly, for Ilya, for Walter, for Yevgeniya, for Yana, and for many other vulnerable members of our large family during this tragedy and always,” said Neznansky.
Essential services also continued for the residents at Wien House, our 100-unit facility for low income elderly and people with physical disabilities. “Even in the face of this crisis, we are committed to ensuring our residents have the care they need,” said Michael Fermaglich, the Y’s chief operating officer. “Our tenants are counting on us to make sure they have the critical resources to survive. We make sure their healthcare professionals and home aides can provide for their essential needs, and they also can receive meals and other vital necessities.”