Giving groups distribute needed supplies across the city
Living up solidly to their mission to help people often overlooked, two local groups spent a recent day distributing much-needed supplies to elderly citizens at Springfield Housing Authority developments.
The Crew and Black Men of Greater Springfield, whose overlapping missions highlight helping people in need, spent several hours packaging and passing out toilet paper and protective masks and gloves so needed during these COVID-19 isolation times.
One stop, and SHA’s Pendleton Avenue Apartments, was a lesson in organization and goodwill.
“We’re here because we found a need for our seniors, who are able to go out for the food and other necessary items, and who also need protective face and hand coverings for when they do that. And everyone seems to be short on bath tissue,” said Wayman Lee, president of the Crew, officially known as Collectively Recognizing Empowerment Within, a group of old friends now retired who are giving back to the community.
Black Men of Greater Springfield President William Zachary said the two groups have joined forces for a more powerful impact.
“We’ve done some great collaborative work with the Crew,” Zachary said. “We try to reach out to the corners and pockets in our city who tend to be last for a lot of things. But when it comes to risk during these times these are the people at the top. We do what we can to help.”
Pendleton Avenue was one of several spots targeted for the distribution. Others were Renee Circle and Moxon Apartments, both SHA properties, and Berkshire Avenue Apartments.
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan thanked the two groups for their efforts, both on that day and in the past.
“The Crew and Black Men of Greater Springfield have always stepped up to the plate when there’s a need, and we appreciate everything they have done for our residents,” Jordan said.
“This effort in particular stands out as our residents are sheltering in place now, and many are not able to get needed supplies, or the protective equipment that is so important in these times,” she added.
On hand to help at Pendleton were SHA staff, including District E Property Manager Sandra West, who also expressed gratitude.
“Anything that helps our elderly residents as they shelter in place is a big plus,” West said. “We’re happy to help out with that in any way we can.”
Wearing masks and protective gloves and keeping a social distance, volunteers and SHA staffers bagged supplies and delivered them door to door. Those on the receiving end shared smiles and thankful words.
“We’re very happy to be getting all of this,” said Pendleton Avenue resident Sonia Ortiz. “Everything helps, and it’s not easy for many of us to get out to buy things.”
Lee and Zachary from the two volunteer organizations said they are working, often together, to help meet community needs during COVID-19 times. Typically, they buy supplies with donations and funds raised, and get out into areas of need a few times each week.
“We have many requests for help,” Zachary said. “Slowly and methodically, we are getting out to every corner of the city.”
Lee added, “We’re here to help where there is a need. We’ve been very busy lately.”
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