Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis on Long Island, restaurants, retailers and residents have joined together to support local hospitals and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic.

When the stay-at-home mandate was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, many workers were required to work from home or temporarily shut down their business.

All essential business still must remain open, however, that means all healthcare workers must report to duty.

They are continuing to work at hospitals and help those on Long Island who are sick, even if that means putting their own lives on the line.

Because of this, the community decided to give back to the healthcare heroes of their towns.

In West Islip, Anthony Musumeci organized a “Caravan of Encouragement” event to show gratitude and support for healthcare workers at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Dozens of community members drove around the hospital on Monday in a motorcade, showcasing home-made thank-you signs to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.

story continues beyond photo

Musumeci said it was no surprise that many residents of West Islip came together to show appreciation for the workers of Good Sam.

“They never cease to amaze me,” Musumeci said. “We organized this to honor the men and women of the health care system, including the workers of Good Sam, who are fighting a war right now.”

He said The Caravan of Encouragement means a lot to him because he and the rest of the community recognize that many of these workers are working around the clock to save lives — some are even living away from their families in order to protect them from the virus.

“They are working long hours with no sleep to save the lives of our loved ones,” he said. “It is important to me and the community that they know we are all in this together and we appreciate their sacrifices.”

story continues beyond photo

In East Islip, Patricia Blair brought together community members through Facebook to raise money in support of Southside Hospital workers in Bay Shore.

Last Tuesday, Blair created the Facebook group “The Islips Feed the Southside Hospital Employees” and started inviting friends to join.

She said it “really exploded” from there.

The purpose of the group is for community members to donate money to pay restaurants to prepare and deliver food to Southside Hospital to feed the employees.

“It’s a win-win in that the restaurants make a little bit of money because they are all hurting with everything going on right now, and the employees get fed,” Blair said.

Photo from the “Islips Feed the Southside Hospital Employees” Facebook group.

On the group’s launch day, in the first four hours, the Islip community raised over $3,000.

In 24 hours, that number doubled.

It has been almost a week since Blair started the group, and they have now received approximately $22,000 in donations.

They currently have over 2,000 members in the group. With the number of people donating and overall money raised so far, Islips Feed will be able to provide around 200 meals each day to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff at Southside.

Blair said it’s “very humbling” to see the community come together so quickly to help feed the hospital workers.

“I think it’s testament to the goodwill in people that they can want to support something like this,” she said. “It’s uncertain times right now, and everyone has been so supportive. It’s incredible.”

The Islips Feed the Southside Hospital Employees is taking donations through their Venmo account, @Patrica-Blair-4.

Caravan of Encouragement

Below are more photos from the Caravan of Encouragement event held at Good Samaritan Hospital today.