Direct Relief arrived at Newark Community Health Centers, Inc. (NCHC) this morning ready for a second day of distributing urgently needed nutritional supplies to care for people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Inside the 44 boxes unloaded from the FedEx truck that arrived at the clinic this morning were Ensure, PediaSure, Pedialyte and ZonePerfect bars donated by Abbott. Health center staff said food and nutritional products are one of their biggest needs right now because many of their patients have been without electricity and have no means to cook or maintain proper refrigeration.
Serving more than 19,000 patients of all ages each year, NCHC is one of the largest providers of comprehensive primary care services for the uninsured and medically underserved populations in one of the country’s most densely populated cities. Their network has seven sites in or near the Newark area, four of which were closed through Wednesday. The others re-opened Thursday and Friday.
Direct Relief also visited Damian Family Care Center in Queens. The medical director, Dr. Zamar Raza, said the clinic had minimal interruption in services after the storm as surrounding neighborhoods survived the storm with little loss of power or flooding.
She said their biggest challenge has been maintaining a steady flow of medications to their affiliate center, Samaritan Village, a residential inpatient drug treatment program. The patients there get medications from a pharmacy in Rockaway that is currently under water. She said they have had to redirect all of their medications to another pharmacy.
Direct Relief continued health center outreach through the day in Redhook, Brooklyn and Staten Island today, some of the hardest hit areas affected by the storm. Outreach will continue tomorrow in these areas, now under threat from the Nor’easter winter storm approaching the already battered East Coast, causing concern for those who still do not have heat.
Two more deliveries are set to arrive in New York City tomorrow, World Cares Center will receive personal care items, nutritionals and supplies and the Community Health Network, which operates 12 sites in the city, will receive diabetic supplies, antibiotics, nutritionals, gloves, bandages, Neosporin, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and masks.