As has been the trend worldwide, the COVID-19 crisis has taken a disproportionate toll on Hudson County’s Senior Citizens.
In Hoboken, community leaders established a task force to help our seniors and the most vulnerable.
“We are taking action,” says Hoboken Housing Authority Board Commissioner Andrew Impastato, “virtually and safely—to help meet their everyday needs and to bring community back to those in isolation brought on by social distancing.”
Impastato has teamed up with HHA Board Chairman David Mello, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano, City Councilman Ruben Ramos Jr., City Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, City Councilwoman Vanessa Falco, HoLa School Board President Nicole Cammarota, Community Center/Food Pantry Coordinator Toni Tomarazzo, Applied Housing’s Joseph Barry, Hoboken Housing Authority Director Marc Recko and Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioner Erica Seitzman.
Together, they have managed to source and distribute hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/sprays, and soap to all Seniors in Hoboken; extend and expand meal service to all seniors across the City of Hoboken; and engage Seniors through a Buddy Program to protect them from isolation.
“I reached out to Jackie Princiotto who is a Hoboken resident and local employee at JET.com/Walmart,” said Impastato. “Jackie introduced me to the store manager of the Bayonne Wal-Mart who luckily received a large shipment of hand sanitizer and bar soaps. Through the next 5 days and constant communication with the various store managers, 6 different trips were made to the Bayonne Walmart, the Kearny Walmart, and the Watchung Walmart.”
From those trips, the task for was able to source and distribute 2,000 individual hand sanitizer products, 600 disinfectant cleaning material (including Lysol spray and Clorox wipes), 200 bars of soap, and 200 bottles of hand soap.
“The Hoboken Pantry fronted the payment and stored it on site at the Hoboken Community Center, various members of the task force and CERT teams loaded and unloaded,” said Impastato. “Joe Barry donated $5,500 to pay for the initial costs, and [Health & Human Services Director] Leo Pellegrini and his team helped distribute to the various Senior buildings totaling 852 senior units.”
Efforts are ongoing to source and collect much needed products, as the list of those in need continues to expand.
“We have collected addresses of an additional 320 Seniors living in Applied units to distribute supplies to as well as adding the main campus HHA senior and family building units,” said Impastato. “So we’re now reaching out to over 1,100 individuals.”
Such a broad reach can be logisitically daunting, but efforts are underway to create a network where people can help maintain contact with those Seniors impacted by this crisis.
Seniors need our help more than ever. If you know a #hoboken senior who would value this program please reach out or have them reach out. TY primarily to Councilwoman Falco & @holahoboken and the rest of our Senior Task Force for making this happen. @nicolecammorata pic.twitter.com/pdraMwRZty
— Tiffanie Fisher, Councilwoman (@Tiffanie_Fisher) April 24, 2020
“Councilwoman Falco and Nicole Cammarota who have worked hard to develop a check-in program which will aid in informing our Seniors of all necessary information to keep them safe and engaged,” says Impastato. “Nicole is enlisting Spanish speaking parents and teachers from HoLa school where she is the Board President so we have both languages to discuss various information. This program is essential to prevent Seniors from feeling isolated during these difficult times.”
Any senior who does not reside in a senior building but would like meals delivered to your home, please call the Hoboken Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hotline at 201-420-5625.
To assist with the senior outreach, contact Councilwoman Vanessa Falco at 201-523-4033.