THANK YOU everyone who has already donated and helped me reach my initial goal of $1000 which will provide food and medications for the 3 seniors I have been working with! I have just expanded the goal and reached out to a number of agencies in Chinatown to see if they have identified any individuals who need support. There were many seniors that I identified in mid-March but since I was only able to financially support three people, I was not able to help them. Moving forward, any donations will be used to purchase hot meals for the homeless in Chinatown from local restaurants in Chinatown as well as support additional seniors that I am now working to identify! I promise to send updates as I make progress! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Why do these seniors need help?
While our New York City and State has been working tirelessly to get meals out to those in need- unfortunately, they are not culturally sensitive food and they are also not suitable for seniors who have special diets because of chronic heart and renal conditions -- ex: while packaged cold cut sandwiches, boxes of cheerios, juice boxes, etc are not “high fat” items, they are often too high in sodium and potassium content and if consumed as the sole source of nutrient for seniors who have health complications for weeks, that will likely wreak havoc and lead to deterioration, requiring hospitalization---one thing that's often neglected is fact that those adults especially elderly, who have chronic medical illnesses, MUST pay extra attention to maintaining healthy and nutritious diets to prevent complications that would require hospitalization.
Also, unless the adult/senior can physically get to a school to get in line to pick up meals, the city has been relatively slow and sporadic in meal delivery, with some people waiting 2 weeks after signing up (I am also working with a group of seniors and adults who don't have health complications and can eat those meals but haven't gotten regular delivery)
Original fundraiser message:
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe during these trying times.
I am writing to ask for your help in supporting three isolated Chinese seniors who are homebound and living in Chinatown, New York. For the last few weeks, since New York State has been put on PAUSE starting March 22, 2020, I have been purchasing and delivering fresh groceries to three Chinese seniors who live alone and have no support system; I also pick up their medications from the pharmacies and deliver them to their front door. All three are widows and their children either live outside of New York, or in the case of one of them-- her only son died of covid.
It costs about $540 a month to buy and get their medications. Unfortunately, this lockdown is going on for a lot longer than expected and I don’t have the finances to sustain this service for much longer. If you would be willing to help me support these seniors for another 2 months please donate! Any small amount will be greatly appreciated!
The longer story: if you have a moment and are interested in what I do for them or their back story, please continue reading.
My name is Justin and I am a registered nurse who is currently pursuing my doctorate of nursing practice in psychiatric mental health at Columbia University.
The three seniors I have been buying groceries and picking up medications for are among a large list of seniors that were identified as needing support during covid, but unfortunately the meal delivery sent by the agencies delivering food to those in need is not always culturally sensitive (ex. cold sandwiches, salads --Chinese elderly aren't accustomed to eating cold things! .... one week they got delivered large raw carrots- what is an older Chinese lady who barely has any teeth supposed to do with a bag of carrots?). It is not only difficult for them to go get groceries due to their physical conditions, but they are also fearful of venturing out because of acts of violence against the elderly that have popped up around Chinatown. One of the seniors was shopping for herself during the first week of social distancing, but she was cornered on her block by a gang of young adults and beaten, pushed on the floor, and kicked multiple times before they robbed her of the bit of cash she had on her. When I did a home visit during the last week of March to assess her to make sure she didn't need hospitalization from the injuries, I found her bed-bound with bruises on her scalp and forehead, a black eye, multiple bruises across her abdomen, on her arms, and her legs. She has since made a recovery but is too afraid to venture out to get groceries.
I've been buying their groceries weekly- disinfecting them, and then delivering them by placing them in disinfected boxes at their front doors-- to avoid any possible chance that I might be a carrier and give them covid, I don't allow them to open their front doors until I am halfway down the block. I originally thought I could support them myself, but the reality that this lockdown might be going on a lot longer than we all planned is hitting hard, and I have to be realistic about my own finances. I've been living off loans because I am in school, but as this goes on and prices of fresh produce and meats has also gone up, I can no longer continue supporting them my own. I need your help!
In addition to buying groceries for the three seniors, I have also been buying hot food for the increased number of homeless people that are roaming around Chinatown. The three seniors I have been helping feel very ashamed that they need help (if you're Chinese, you'll understand- it's a huge pride/face thing, which is understandable), and therefore have refused to allow me to post their names or any photos of them. The picture I have uploaded is a picture I snapped today, April 24, 2020 at 3:50pm in Chinatown at the corner of Mott and Hester. I noticed this man going through the different garbage cans along Hester street looking for leftovers, and watched him for a long time (to determine if he is coughing or might have overt covid symptoms, at which point I would have called 311 and asked for social services support to have him examined and put up in one of the facilities being set up for the city's homeless), and after a while I approached him and offered to buy him a hot meal and gave him some cash.
I've set the fundraising goal at $1,000 mostly because it's so far undeterminable how long social distancing measures will be in place. It's currently costing me approximately $540 per month to get groceries and pick up medications for the three seniors- but market prices for groceries have been rising. If at the end I have more money than I spent on food for the seniors and the homeless that I encounter, then I will be donating the excess money to an organization that feeds the homeless. Or if this goes on longer, I might have to ask for more.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my entire message, and thank you for helping me to support a few of the most vulnerable members of our community.