Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Fordham Prep in the Bronx has donated the safety goggles from its science labs to nearby St. Barnabas Hospital. The donation included lab gowns and several boxes of exam gloves.
The school has also started a highly successful online fundraising effort that is feeding emergency room personnel at a nearby hospital, with the help of a neighborhood deli.
Dr. Ernest Patti, senior attending physician of emergency medicine at St. Barnabas, is the father of a Fordham Prep senior also named Ernest. Dr. Patti expressed gratitude for the donation of 100 safety goggles and other personal protective equipment, which he personally brought to the hospital March 22.
Father Christopher Devron, S.J., school president, said in a statement, “I am so pleased that our resources can assist, in some small way, in protecting our heroic health care workers who are on the frontlines of care during this unprecedented crisis.”
The school’s donation stemmed largely from these factors: the school campus is closed, the science labs are dormant and students are engaged in home-based learning. For many years, the school, the hospital and Mike’s Deli have enjoyed a neighborly rapport.
“Jesuit education is committed to service and advancing the common good,” Father Devron said.
In a phone interview with CNY last week, Father Devron said, “These doctors and nurses, they take great risks there, doing this work for the community. So we’re doing this Lunch For Life program through Mike’s Deli...When our boys get injured they usually end up going to St. Barnabas. The hospital has always been very good to us as a school,” Father Devron said. “And obviously it’s now their time of need.”
Father Devron said, “Mike’s Deli is an institution going back generations on Arthur Avenue. The deli also always has been very generous to Fordham Prep, whenever we have events or fund-raisers.” He said it was agreed that the Lunch for Life money would go to pay the deli to prepare meals twice a day (lunch and dinner) for the hospital ER workers on a continuing basis.
This in turn is helping the deli, which had begun to struggle because of the coronavirus crisis.
Colleen Roche, a spokesperson for Fordham Prep, said March 30 that school fundraising efforts began three days earlier. Within several days the school had raised more than $40,000 to help feed ER workers at the hospital for a month, and the monetary online donations kept coming—and Mike’s Deli kept preparing food for hospital staffers busy tending to patients amid the pandemic. (The deli prepares some of the meals without charge.) The owner of the deli, David Greco, has a son, Christian, who is an alumnus of Fordham Prep.
The total raised includes a $20,000 match from another Fordham Prep alumnus, Jim Rowen.
St. Barnabas, located less than a mile from the boys’ Jesuit high school, is a 422-bed nonprofit, nonsectarian community hospital.
School officials say many in the Fordham Prep community are concerned about friends and community members impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Few have been hit harder, officials note, than those in the hospital industry and caregivers, doctors and nurses, who work in hospital emergency rooms.
These days, the ER workers “need our help as they work double shifts at great risk to their own health. Fordham Prep has partnered with Mike’s Deli to ensure that the staff at SBH is well-nourished and ready to help the community in and around Fordham Prep,” the school said.
Father Devron personally sponsored the first lunch meal March 27. “This is a small way we can show our love,” the statement said, “to those who are suffering these days and sacrificing so much to care for our neighbors.” To donate, go to fordhamprep.org and click on Food for Life.
Other schools in the archdiocese also contributed safety equipment and other supplies and food to health care workers.
On Staten Island last week, Notre Dame Academy donated more than 100 lab goggles for essential workers at Richmond University Medical Center, with help from several Notre Dame alumnae.
“The alumnae are a constant source of inspiration in the support of the essential workers and medical professionals working hard on the front lines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” the school said a statement.
“The goggles were given to essential employees who are in frequent contact with Covid-19 patients...Notre Dame is proud to support the community and the people who are keeping our community safe during this uncertain time.” The girls’ Catholic school has grades PK-3 to 12.
In New Rochelle, to mark the start of Holy Week, students and facility of Iona Prep donated needed items to the health care staff at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers. They included 1,000 nitrate gloves, 200 plastic bibs, 30 safety goggles and 2,500 personal hand sanitizer spray bottles, and more than 75 pounds of food for workers.
Brother Thomas R. Leto, C.F.C., president of Iona Prep, noted that the school’s mission “is to teach our young men to be moral and ethical leaders, and as a result, it seemed natural to offer up our unused supplies to our brothers and sisters in need. Many families are doing the same.”
Michael Spicer, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Medical Center, said the staff “is working tirelessly and appreciates this generous donation of medical supplies during this critical time.” Iona Prep is a boys’ PK-12 Catholic school.