The COVID-19 health pandemic has increased the stress on emergency departments around the world. Various businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations have extended support to those working on the front lines to save lives through donations to various hospitals. Good Samaritan Hospital’s ED, on Saturday, was the recipient of several hundred meals donated by the FealGood Founda- tion and Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.
Both the FealGood Foundation and Barasch McGarry law firm are directly involved in supporting those affected by 9/11. The FealGood Foundation, based in Nesconset, exists in its purpose to assist all emergency personnel, and that support often falls in the monetary category. And Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson, a law firm located in Manhattan, represents thousands in the 9/11 community.
“They are, sadly, most at risk now because of their compromised immune systems and their respiratory illnesses,” said Michael Barasch, a partner in the firm. “That is exactly where the COVID-19 virus strikes: the lungs.”
Barasch said that a dozen of his clients have fallen victim to the virus and that his dealings with the 9/11 community have brought him into contact with countless doctors, therapists, and individuals in other areas of health care.
“I have been so in touch with the health care workers and EMTs and firefighters who are basically eating their meals out of vending machines. It was crystal clear to me that if you want these people to take care of us, we have to take care of them,” Barasch added.
Sara Director, a member of the firm, delivered the meals to emergency depart- ment personnel at Good Sam.
“Even though our firm is a Manhattan firm, we have been taking care of Long Island hospitals because the pandemic does not stop in New York City. It does not discriminate,” Director said.
Director also delivered meals to Glen Cove Hospital on Sunday. Barasch said that the firm has donated to 25 hospitals thus far, most of which are located on Long Island.
The FealGood Foundation has worked in conjunction with the firm on 10 of those donations, including Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and spanning as far as Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. John Feal, the president of the foundation, said that the nonprofit has also donated to food pantries, nursing homes, volunteer EMS and fire companies, and the Fourth Precinct of the Suffolk County Police Department in Hauppauge. Feal said that over $15,000 in food and $30,000 in personal protective equipment has been raised and donated thus far.
“I hope that our giving and our spirit is contagious,” Feal said, adding that the nonprofit has supported surrounding local businesses, too, in order to make all of this happen. “Year round, people go to those small businesses and ask them to sponsor their Little League teams, ask them to take an ad in their ad journals for when they are doing events. Being able to purchase that amount of food helps them keep their lights on and pay their employees. Again, if it is the least we can do, then we have not done enough.”
Upon the spirit of giving, Feal urged that businesses in the position to donate should be doing so.
“There are so many lucrative businesses on Long Island that can withstand the financial drain that the COVID-19 crisis has caused that they can make a difference and donate food, time, and resources to those on the last line of defense,” he said, referring to the health care workers and those saving lives and risking their own lives.
“They are the last line of defense. The American people, those who are staying in their houses and heeding the advice of the professionals, we are the front line of the defense,” Feal said. “If feeding [health care workers] and sending them surgical masks is the least we can do, then we have not done enough.”
Both Feal and Barasch extended appreciation and thanks to the health care personnel in emergency departments.
“I am so grateful that we have this opportunity [to assist] because there are not a lot of things that lawyers can do at this time. We do not know how to intubate or resuscitate people, but we certainly do [know these personnel do],” Barasch said, adding that he hopes the donations put forth will inspire others to do the same thing, considering that this pandemic does not have an endpoint drawn in the sand.
The hospital’s president, Ruth Hennessy, expressed her and the staff’s gratitude for the firm and nonprofit’s donation to the emergency department.
“We truly appreciate the kindness and generosity from Barasch McGarry and the FealGood Foundation,” Hennessy said. “Our Emergency Department staff were extremely grateful for the meals, and it’s that type of community support that keeps our teams motivated and focused during these challenging times.”