Facebook group mobilizes amid outbreak
Mar 17, 2020 | 2659 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Over the weekend, the Facebook group “Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens–Our Communities” founded a new volunteer sub-group comprised of some of the group’s 16,500-plus members who came forward within hours.

“It’s always important to give back, but in this time of social distancing it is imperative that those with stronger immune systems help those who cannot go out in public without risking their health,” said Batya Kaufman. “I have no family nearby, so I know how lonely and difficult it can be without a support system. I also hope I will make some lasting connections that continue beyond this pandemic.”

“Times of crisis can bring us closer together,” the Facebook post read. “Who would like to volunteer to help community residents in need? For example, we can run errands for seniors who are advised to stay home during the pandemic. We can commit good deeds that are small, while socially distancing ourselves among other precautions. As a large Facebook group, we can help some of our neighbors.”

“Volunteering in a time of crisis enables me to connect with my community and helps affirm my purpose,” said Melanie Rudolfo.

Kris Supangkat of Kew Gardens was able to help Forest Hills resident Barbara Glick.

“She offered to bring me eggs and face masks, and I never met her before,” said Glick. “Our group changed overnight from simple posts to lifesaving help for others who might die because they can’t get out or they don’t have money to buy stuff.”

Alexandra Kay said she was inspired to get involved by the example set by her grandmother.

“She is the definition of selflessness, and although she passed away, I will never fail to follow in her ways,” Kay said. “I want to give back to the world everything that I got in my life, especially to people who need it and can’t always ask for help.”

A crisis can particularly make people feel lonely, but Dina Bouzier Murphy hopes to make a difference. She is motivated by the recent loss of a neighbor.

“We tried to help him as much as we can, since nobody ever came to visit,” she said. “He passed away alone, and we realized that he had no surviving family or friends but us. He was grumpy at times, but now we understand why. I really want to reach out to everyone that needs our attention.”

Elizabeth Stoddard explained that in a time of crisis the most vulnerable populations are at highest risk.

“My idea for helping seniors would be to divide a call list where volunteers call to offer conversation, see how they’re feeling, and if they have any medical needs,” she said.

Christine Liem was raised in Indonesia and moved to America 15 years ago. Besides her husband Chris, she does not have much family in the U.S.

“In Indonesia, if someone needed help we would provide money or food,” she said, adding she would like to organize a local food pantry. “I can relate when someone lives alone and needs help.”

Sandra Choi described Queens as a model for the world and a collective community.

“Now more than ever, we have to look after one another and continue to build a community so no one feels alone,” she said. “For example, a senior in our community who lives on a fixed income and depends on home care service will undoubtedly be affected by COVID-19 since it can isolate them, limit access to a caregiver, or they may no longer perform basic tasks.”

“When people say they have no time, no one really does, but we have to find some way to get involved and serve,” said Patty Bugland.

A list of volunteers and people who need their services is being compiled. To participate, contact Michael Perlman via Facebook or at mperlman@queensledger.com. Please provide your name, Facebook profile, phone number and email.
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