Coronavirus Shutdown Brings On Innovation

Who's feeding Roosevelt Island's most vulnerable...?

Updated 3 weeks ago David Stone
RIDA President Wendy Hersh (R) with Lisa Fernandez and CBN Executive Director Bill Dionne at a RIOC Board Meeting in 2018.
RIDA President Wendy Hersh (R) with Lisa Fernandez and CBN Executive Director Bill Dionne at a RIOC Board Meeting in 2018.
© David Stone/Roosevelt Island Daily

You're likely to be surprised when you learn who's taken responsibility for delivering food to Roosevelt Island's most vulnerable, homebound residents, those unable to easily get out and shop and/or stay in and cook. 

If you thought some professional or government service stepped up, making sure as few as possible go hungry, you're wrong.

The heroes striving every day on this mission are mostly seniors led by the Disabled Association. After the city shut down the senior center, preventing the Carter Burden Network from providing meals, they all stepped up their game.

Get local: Roosevelt Island News

Collaborating with CBN and the Board of Education, the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association organizes delivering "...breakfasts and lunches to 155 people, Mondays thru Fridays," says RIDA president Wendy Hersh.

Food comes from PS/IS 217's free Grab and Go operations.

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"On Saturdays we get grocery boxes and we deliver to 155 people," Hersh told the Daily. "Once a week we get a delivery of groceries with 5 bags for each of 110 families of produce, dairy cans and non- perishable foods."

As reported this week, CBN is organizing all resources they can locate.

To get started, Hersh met with CBN director Lisa Fernandez "... and went over my list and looked at hers. I have also been hearing about those in need by word of mouth and by buildings.

"I am out there 6 days a week at the crack of dawn while working remotely at my job," she added.

"Mary Coleman, Marion Falk and Pat Rivera come with me. We divvy up by building and then volunteers come by to pick up to deliver."

At the risk of forgetting someone or more, Hersh cites "a great group of volunteer -- Patty Fallone, Kristi Towey, Vicki Feinmel and Darlene and Aleida Torres.

"One day a week when we get the 550 grocery bags," she adds, "Doryne Isley (Roosevelt Landings) has her maintenance guys deliver to their buildings."

On Saturdays CERT pitches in as well as some volunteers like Ebony Willams from Hope Church. 

"Always grateful to Carter Burden for sharing their membership lists, providing us with supplies and supporting us..."

Hersh apologizes to anyone she inadvertently left off her list of gratitude.

"I've been here for over 43 years and this is what we do as Roosevelt islanders when things get rough…we stick together."

 Reporting by David Stone

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