Covid Journal – Spring Newsletter
Here is my second newsletter of 2020. Please consider signing up to get these newsletters delivered automatically to your Inbox. You can sign up at the bottom of this page.
This has been a really hard month for the Rochester community and the nation as a whole. COVID-19 has created a deep sense of fear and anxiety. It takes lives and separates families every single day. It also has brought economic hardship to our community, which is particularly damaging in a city with already high poverty rates. We know that this disease hasn’t affected us all equally, but I’m heartened to see so many stepping up to care for each other.
I am trying my very best to serve our community well during this time. I am particularly proud to be on the team at Foodlink, where we were immediately ready to meet the rising need in our community. Since the start of COVID, we have served more than 100,000 meals to RCSD students and distributed emergency food supplies to more than 40,000 households. My dual role at the food bank and as an elected official helped ensure quick, decisive action with government partners, including the City of Rochester, County of Monroe, and nine adjacent counties served by Foodlink.
Much of my work as a Councilmember has changed in the last month, as I’ve paused big legislative projects (like a Food Policy Council) that require large groups of people to congregate. Instead, I’ve focused on helping individuals and organizations deal with COVID. I’ve worked with Monroe County and homeless services providers to ensure that our shelters remain safe and that residents of Peace Village have the opportunity to move into empty hotels. I facilitated the automatic renewal of garden permits to encourage people to get out and garden safely, because we know that it can be so helpful for both nutritional and mental health. I’ve helped small businesses receive the Payment Protection Plan, and individuals apply successfully for unemployment. Moreover, I’ve tried my best to make my City Council Facebook page a repository of useful information during the pandemic.
On a personal level, my own experience related to COVID has been very strange. As many of you know, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world on March 27. Levi Natiella Gruber came a month early. As you can imagine, the uncertainty surrounding his birth only exacerbated my personal feeling of anxiety. I was scared enough about our baby arriving early, but to be in the hospital during the rise of COVID and then to start to raise a newborn without having family and friends able to stop by, hold Levi, or celebrate in person was (and is) incredibly difficult. Thankfully, both Levi and Amy are in great health. Now, more than three weeks after his birth, I’ve stopped feeling anxiety, dread, or fear. With news that our efforts to social distance have helped achieve a plateau in Monroe County, with spring apparent in the lilacs and daffodils opening up, and with a newborn to get to know, I take heart; together we will persist and put COVID-19 behind us.
I am including a big list of COVID related resources. There are lots more. Please take a look and let us know there is any other information you need at this time.
- My Facebook Page – Daily posts with useful info
- City of Rochester – Guide if feeling sick, needing food, shelter, or info on City services
- Rochester School District – Details about district changes
- Monroe County – Guides for individuals, families, and businesses
- New York State – NY on Pause explanation and sign-up for daily email updates
- Center for Disease Control – How to protect yourself and what to do if you’re sick
- On Our Sleeves – Guide to help children understand and cope
- Mental Health Association – Local or national assistance
- Unemployment – To claim or check on application
- Economic Impact Payments – To see if you are eligible and status with the IRS
- 211 – Call for connection to food resources
- United Way – Volunteering opportunities to donate time or money, help pack food, sew masks, or make calls to check on seniors
If you need help finding something specific among these resources or information about something that isn’t listed, please reach out to me (email@example.com) or Beth (firstname.lastname@example.org). It can be really hard to find the right help when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. We’re here to help you.
Oh, and please don’t forget
to join Levi
in filling out your Census!
We want to hear your thoughts! When you have questions or ideas about how to contribute to a healthier Rochester, please reach out.
office phone: 585-428-6924, City Council main phone: 585-428-7538
address: City Hall, Room 301, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY 14614
To stay up to date on our work, please follow my Facebook page, and if you’re not receiving this newsletter directly in your email, sign up below.