By Janet Rose
During these politically challenging times and the past nine months of dealing with Covid-19 and its accompanying losses for so many, generosity takes on even greater meaning.
I have seen that generosity in all of its incarnations…the generosity of spirit, of time, and of money. Two campaigns Howard and I have spearheaded reveal just how much the residents of Manhattan are willing to step up.
Starting in April, with Carol Nadell Van Deusen’s participation in the beginnings of the Reclaim Our Vote efforts in Manhattan, brought to her by Sandy Radoff (a woman who stepped up to make a difference), many of us at Ethical began writing postcards to voters in high-suppression states in the South. That sanity-saving activity at the height of our “stay at home” time morphed for me into packaging for the Interfaith Coalition, which included 4th U and St. Barts.
Packagers — Brie Magar of 4th U., who lives on 185th, and Miriam Schneider of St. Barts, who lives on the UES, and Brian Kramer (co-chair of 4th U’s Social Justice Team), who basically put his life on hold to become the computer guru for local and national ROV, twice sending 2.5 million addresses to volunteer writers throughout the US — embody the essence of the generosity of time and spirit.
Beginning small, my packaging efforts grew from 3,000 cards a week to 10,000 by mid-September, with almost 200 volunteer writers. That success was only possible with a team of intrepid bikers: Anthony Pulgram, Blaise Baron, Eljat Feuer, Tony Weida, Harv Bebi, Alina Larson, Hae Soo Kim, Andre Tulet, and Jonathan Reis; and walkers: Betsy Malcolm and Debbie Von Ehrens, as well as drivers: Steve Marcus and Eileen Jarrett (co-chair of 4th U’s Social Justice Team) delivering the packets. They stepped up time and again, week after week.
Betsy Malcolm walked many miles to deliver well over 40 packets weekly from 64th up to 98th on the UWS. Our team eventually delivered to the Village and Brooklyn, thanks to Brooklyn biker Andre. Now do you see the accuracy of my saying “it takes a village” in the title of this article?
It is with a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude that I am able to report that this generous team packaged and delivered over 125,000 cards for the Presidential election and another 55,000 cards in November for the Georgia Senate runoff. That generosity extends to all of the writers who gave of their time and money to participate in the ROV campaign. Kudos to them all.
Generosity is also embodied in the Food Insecurity Campaign we have been organizing since late summer by simply offering residents of Manhattan buildings the opportunity to make a difference for their neighbors in need. For one specified hour on a specified day, we have our van outside the building safely collecting residents’ donations. By the time you are reading this, we expect to have collected from more than a dozen buildings, some of which are repeats, since the residents want to continue to do more to help others.
Seeing, up close and personal, the impact participating in this campaign has on the building organizer, on the residents who bring out bags of food, on the volunteers on the receiving end at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger on Broadway and 86th, and most importantly, knowing those who wait weekly on line for food for themselves and their families are being supported, brings home just how much “generosity” matters.
If you want to learn more about how you can generously participate in this important campaign, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.