2020: A Ray of Hope in Epidemic’s Dark, Early Days

It could have been so easy. Select a phone app, order a few pizzas for the staff at Huntington Hospital and be done with it.  But no. Theresa Sullivan went the harder route, aided by hundreds of other residents eager to help those confronting the Covid-19 epidemic head on.

It started with a Facebook post on March 16, with Sullivan asking her friends to donate to support meals for hospital workers, swamped by the need to care for Covid-19 patients pouring into the hospital. Within 48 hours, she’d received $3,000.

It was only the beginning.

Quickly the project turned into a Huntington Hospital Meals page on Facebook, eventually drawing a stunning 6,600 fans and donations of $180,000. In addition to feeding hospital staff, it helped keep some restaurants in business as they prepared and delivered the meals requested by staff. The project went on for eight weeks and inspired others around the country.

Sullivan’s logistically complex project wasn’t the only way Huntington residents and organizations stepped up, of course.

As reports came in of patients dying in isolation, drives began to supply iPads so families could communicate.  Companies and individuals came up with donations of safety supplies.  Volunteers made thousands of masks and gave them away to those without. Food, monetary and clothing donations got underway as the longterm economic impact of the epidemic was felt. Along smaller food drives organized at church curbsides and coat drives in the parking lot of mosques, many agencies, such as Tri-CYA, Long Island Cares and Helping Hands, among others, redoubled their work as they continued to help the needy.

But it was Sullivan’s project that touched a nerve, encouraging so many to step forward at a time when no one knew what might come next and provided hope in the dark, early days of the epidemic.

Theresa Sullivan

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