Nassau County Bipartisan Effort Spreads Positivity Throughout Pandemic Woes

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Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (right) delivered 1,500 protective masks to Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder (left).
(Photo courtesy of the minority caucus of the Nassau County Legislature)

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not the time for politicians to spew hate. Fortunately, both parties within the Nassau County Legislature have remained civil.

The Republican majority and the Democratic minority have been working on numerous ways to help the community-at-large during the COVID-19 crisis. While Nassau County in particular has been hit quite hard by the virus, politicians have stepped up in ways unlike ever before. From spearheading car parades to thank you cards, new legislation to help county residents and more, the bipartisan efforts have been easy to spot, unlike in the nation’s capital.

The Nassau County Legislature approved the acceptance of more than $12 million from the federal government to bolster critical county services.

“As Nassau County continues to overcome the hardships presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, local government has been called upon to meet those emerging needs by devising innovative, safer new methods of delivering the services our constituents rely upon,” Legislator Arnold Drucker (D—Plainview) said.

Drucker, as well as Legislator Joshua Lafzan (D—Woodbury), have been spearheading efforts to help those who are food insecure within Nassau County’s borders since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated a stay-at-home order in March. One of the biggest campaigns has been the Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative, which assists senior citizens with grocery shopping to keep them safe and inside of their homes.

Lafazan also partnered with The Home Depot in sending care packages to seniors of the Syosset VFW, which included toilet paper, disposable nitrile gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and more. He also spent last Saturday giving out free face masks to residents at Syosset High School.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who is holding press conferences each day to update residents about the latest coronavirus information in the region, also announced the creation of the NUMC Forward taskforce with Legislator Siela Bynoe (D—Westbury). Bynoe has been spearheading Thankful Tuesdays in Westbury in an effort to show appreciation to the first responders who are risking their lives on a daily basis in the fight against the coronavirus. 

Additionally, Legislator Delia DeRiggion-Whitton (D—Glen Cove) has supported and participated in weekly deliveries of food and supplies through Glen Cove City Councilwoman Dr. Eve Lupenko-Ferrante and husband John Ferrante’s “Do Good to Feel Good” campaign.

“While these deliveries help us ensure that no family in our community goes without food or essential supplies, it also gives us an opportunity to check in with our neighbors, have a conversation and ensure that their needs are being met,” DeRiggi-Whitton said.

Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D—Great Neck) joined the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York in late April to distribute thousands of surgical masks to residents during a drive-through distribution event in the Great Neck Library parking lot.

There is also the mental wellness factor, too. Legislator John Ferretti (R—Levittown) launched a mental health website, www.nassaucountyny.gov/4986/Mental-Health-Resources-for-Children. The page lists 18 different organizations that Long Island residents can contact for virtual counseling. Additionally, Drucker and New York State Senator Jim Gaughran also held a talk with the Jericho Public Library called “Coping and Balancing During the Pandemic” to help put mental wellness issues at the forefront of this pandemic.

Ferretti also created the Thank You to Our Heroes campaign, which encouraged children throughout the region to send first responders thank you notes during this unprecedented time. In a short span, Ferretti delivered more than 2,000 notes after quarantining them for a week.

The majority caucus partnered with Long Island Cares-Harry Chapin Food Bank to start a virtual food drive to help those that are hungry in Nassau County. At the time of publication, they surpassed the halfway point of the 5,000 pounds of food donations for the food bank. People can select items on the Long Island Cares site, www.licares.org.

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