Governor Andrew Cuomo reported startling statistics this week that five per cent of all coronavirus cases are now in the New York City region with thousands of people infected and deaths rising by the day.
Most New Yorkers are heeding the warnings and staying indoors. But others are answering their call to duty to serve their neighborhoods and support local medical teams working round the clock to provide care.
While most restaurants throughout the city have closed, several have shifted their business models into delivery and pick up only. Others have pivoted to food relief efforts and are providing catered-like meals— dozens at a time— at discounted prices. These meals help to nourish staff working in area hospitals.
Loi Estiatorio, a popular Greek restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, is usually bustling with customers. Executive Chef Maria Loi typically greets her guests table-to-table before skipping back to the kitchen to check on meal preparation.
But the latest crisis has her on the front lines of a massive feeding operation, helping to keep New York doctors, nurses and medical teams nourished as emergency rooms are filling quickly.
Loi is also providing another valuable community service— she’s keeping the homeless people in the neighborhood fed with approximately 30-40 meals a day that she hangs outside the door of her restaurant.
Gus Karayiannis of Radio City Pizza in Midtown Manhattan is also doing his part, pumping out pizza pies for healthcare workers in the city’s hospitals and keeping his staff working and medical workers fed.
“It’s all about those people who are in the hospitals that are working, working overtime. The doctors, the nurses, the staff… everyone,” Karayiannis said. “So if I can just do a little part of help, I’m happy.”
In Brooklyn, Fr. Eugene Pappas transformed the front door of Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church into a doorstep of hope, sharing flowers with passersby.
“What else can we do?” Fr. Eugene said. “Our churches must remain closed so they can’t come inside and pray. There are people walking by on their way to work at the area hospitals. The least we can do is brighten their day for a moment as they walk by.”
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