Masked hospital staff posing with food delivered by New York Tech's Help Our Heroes volunteers.

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Catching Up: Community Service Spirit Continues to Thrive During Crisis

July 13, 2020

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the New York Tech community provided sustenance and PPE equipment to frontline workers and technology devices to patients who were isolated from loved ones. As the New York area begins to reopen and the need for services diminishes, The Box caught up with some of the groups who mobilized to provide support during the pandemic to get updates on their ongoing efforts.

COM Approaches: Help Our Heroes, Meditation4Medicine, Meals from Med Students  

Sarah Korn, a fourth-year student at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), led efforts to launch the Help Our Heroes initiative, a volunteer program providing items and services in support of health care workers, including personal protective equipment (PPE), hospital food deliveries, grocery shopping, childcare, and pet care. Five student committees oversaw various volunteer activities in which more than 150 NYITCOM students have participated. Highlights include:

  • The PPE committee raised funds and together with fourth-year medical student Ian Persits, who led another student-driven initiative called Meditation4Medicine, purchased 2,000 KN95 masks that were distributed to South Nassau Communities Hospital, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and St. John’s Hospital, along with 50 face shields created by Gregory Kurgansky, a medical student who used his own 3-D printer.
  • Meals from Med Students organized the delivery of more than 4,200 meals to healthcare workers in hospitals throughout Long Island and New York City through fundraising efforts and coordinating donations from restaurants. Their visits and grateful recipients can be seen on the group’s Instagram account, @mealsfrommedstudents, and in a story in The Island Now.

Student Vets Lead Effort Feed the Frontline

New York Tech’s Student Veterans Organization (SVO), in partnership with student-athletes, NYITCOM, Campus Dining, and Student Life, also answered the call. The Feed the Frontline initiative raised more than $42,000 to provide food platters to frontline staff at nine hospitals: Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, St. Charles Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Northport VA Medical Center, and the East Orange VA Medical Center.

Campus Dining used funds raised to provide food, and New York Tech student veterans assisted in the unloading and delivery of more than 1,900 meals to health care workers.

Technology Drive Helps Patients Connect with Family 

The idea to start a tech drive to collect used iPads, iPhones, and chargers began when it became apparent to Brandon Burg, a fourth-year medical student and Academic Medicine scholar, that many patients hospitalized during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic were isolated and had no means to contact their loved ones. So Burg, Linda Darroch-Short, NYITCOM director of student life and Hallie Zwibel, D.O., assistant professor and medical director, spearheaded the tech drive, which so far has collected 20 devices donated to patients at North Shore Hospital and St. Charles Hospital, as visitors have not been allowed.

Physical Therapy Students “Treat” Essential Workers

In early May, the New York Tech Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association (DPTSA) raised $2,300 in one week in order to provide treat bags to essential workers in local area hospitals. Staff and students filled more 300 bags with sweet treats that were delivered to NYU Winthrop Hospital, St. Charles Hospital, Southside Hospital, and Mount Sinai Hospital. Of the total amount donated, $300 was donated to Papa Don NYC, a specialty eatery in Queens that has been providing treats to essential workers in local hospitals and the community.

Other Box coverage of New York Tech faculty, staff, and students rising to the occasion to help others during the pandemic include:

Have a story to tell about your group’s community service efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic? Email us at box@nyit.edu.