My name is Jeanne Milstein. I am the Director of Human Services in New London.
On Sunday, March 15 Governor Ned Lamont announced that the State was essentially shutting down effective March 16. Within minutes of receiving the news, I received a call from the Meal Center. No more meals inside for our most vulnerable neighbors. Yet, they had a plan. They were out buying plastic utensils, “to go” bags, and identifying ways of safely preparing food.
The Director of the Homeless Hospitality Center called. The guests at the Hospitality Center would need to eat meals on site. Can we get picnic tables? The same Director, weeks before, anticipated the need to isolate individuals who are homeless who were symptomatic and tested positive. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Mayor, Fire Chief, Fire Marshall, Director of the Homeless Hospitality Center, VNA, the City Attorney and countless numbers of volunteers, a vacant nursing home was operational within a week (a model for the State).
The NAACP Youth Council donated money to support the efforts of Chef Tomm and the Whalers Helping Whalers project to prepare and distribute beautiful meals to our neighbors. The Rotary, in partnership with the schools and the City, organized to write letters, draw pictures and share stories with those who were quarantined in nursing homes.
There are countless other stories of compassion, people raising money, distributing food, masks, hand sanitizer, diapers and clothes. Children sitting outside the windows of nursing homes talking to residents. Food given to essential workers. COUNTLESS numbers of acts of kindness.
These stories don’t diminish any of the tragedy, sadness and anxiety experienced by far too many. I provide these stories as a glimmer of hope which is so important for our souls and our hearts.
I share this because despite the horror of COVID, New London is resilient. New London cares. New London rallies in times of crisis. New London is a community on the front porch, not the back deck. Despite the physical distance and the need to stay apart, New London finds ways to come together while apart.
Submitted by Jeanne Milstein on Oct 15, 2020