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by Tony Moore
When the coronavirus and subsequent COVID-19 sickness first landed hard in the United States, one of the first places to make news was New Rochelle, a New York City suburb that became an early epicenter of the outbreak. An hour north, Stew Glenn ’67 and his wife, Eileen, would soon mobilize the New Paltz Community Foundation as the virus spread.
“Due to age and underlying health conditions, Eileen and I were not able to leave the house, but we wanted to do something significant to help our neighbors who were suffering during these horrific circumstances,” explains Glenn, an attorney who serves on the foundation’s board as corporate secretary while Eileen serves as president. “But the question was how.”
The answer turned out to be something they dubbed “Help Your Neighbors 2020,” an initiative that provides free meal vouchers to those in need. The foundation partnered with local churches, the local Jewish congregation, representatives from local municipalities, an agency that helps residents in need and the local school district. To date, the project has distributed nearly 1,000 meal vouchers, allowing recipients to order a meal from one of more than 30 local restaurants and delis.
As Glenn explains, the project has the secondary purpose of helping local restaurants and delis remain open so they don’t have to lay off employees. What’s more, when the foundation put out the word that donations would help their neighbors in this way, it immediately received a significant number of both large and small donations.
“It has been encouraging, comforting and inspiring to see so much empathy being bestowed upon our neighbors,” Glenn says. “This experience has given us hope in troubled times in our country. These dangerous, challenging times of which we are in the midst make it clear that we will all have to continue to work together diligently to ensure that the principles of democrac—and the duty and responsibility each of us has to serve our community, which we were taught at Dickinson and elsewhere—are reinforced and preserved for future generations.”
Read more stories about how members of the Dickinson community near and far have responded to emerging needs and challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Published August 17, 2020