This morning, members of the Direct Relief community visited partner clinics in and near New York City to help deliver urgently requested nutritional supplies and personal care items to New Yorkers – many of whom still have no electricity, heat, hot water, or refrigeration.
The team arrived to a steady flow of patients as the William F. Ryan – NENA Community Health Center, located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, opened for its first full day with power back on in a week. The Direct Relief crew met first with health center staff to discuss how their clinic weathered the storm.
Soon after, the team was on hand to greet the first FedEx truck and help unload a two-part emergency shipment from Direct Relief of Abbott nutritional supplies as well as 350 personal care packs, filled with basic hygiene items provided by Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena and Prestige Brands.
With the help of clinic staff, by late morning Direct Relief had distributed all of the items to clinic patients, many of whom reported they have not been able to make food at home or keep food properly refrigerated and thus were in critical need of ready-to-eat nutritional supplements such as the PediaSure and Pedialyte for children, and Ensure and ZonePerfect bars for adults.
Patients expressed gratitude for the personal care supplies as many evacuated their homes quickly due to flooding and power outages, leaving basic items behind.
After a second FedEx shipment arrived with similar supplies, the Direct Relief and Ryan-NENA team prepared for a second distribution set for 2 p.m. This time, word had spread throughout the tight-knit community of the health center patients, and the line wrapped around the block with people eagerly awaiting the much-needed supplies.
The line grew so long that before the start of the afternoon distribution, the clinic passed out numbers to those waiting in line and people were allowed into the lobby in increments of 15 to receive the supplies. Instructions to only take one personal care pack per family were given in three different languages over a megaphone to the crowd waiting outside.
Within an hour, all of the supplies were gone. Many had to be turned away, so Direct Relief is sending additional shipments. Direct Relief estimates that around 500 people received products.
Ryan-NENA Executive Director, Kathy Gruber, said more items are likely needed as the patient population the health center serves is still in desperate need of basic items.
Direct Relief is working on the ground with partners on the East Coast for the remainder of the week to assess needs and facilitate the delivery of much needed supplies.
A requested delivery of various medicines and supplies, including diabetic supplies, asthma medications, wound supplies, antibiotics, and insulin arrived today at Ann Silverman Community Clinic in Doylestown, Pa. and email offers of assistance have been sent to nine partners in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
More requested Direct Relief shipments are set to arrive tomorrow at three nonprofit community health centers in New York and New Jersey. The on-the-ground team will be on hand at Newark Community Health Centers in Newark, N.J. tomorrow to help distribute another FedEx shipment of requested nutritional supplies and personal care items.