Whitestone residents organize fundraiser to support healthcare workers during coronavirus pandemic

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File photo courtesy of Karra Puccia

Whitestone residents are working together to support healthcare providers on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A GoFundMe campaign initiated by Karra Puccia aims to raise funds for meals and hospital supplies for healthcare workers in need. 

Puccia is joined by Laura Copersino of The Daniel Copersino Foundation, Alfredo Centola of We Love Whitestone Civic Association, Jessica Baeza and Karishma Rahman Azmat. 

Their goal is to raise a total of $10,000. To date, they have collectively raised $8,000 from generous donors. They are working with local restaurants to help support them during the pandemic, and coordinating logistics of deliveries to medical staff throughout Queens, Manhattan and Long Island. 

Some of the local restaurants that have stepped up to provide quality meals at a discounted price include Bagel Parlor, Frankys Gyro, Liola, Concettina, Villagio, Nana’s Good Eats, The Clinton and more. 

For Puccia, it’s been an “amazing experience” watching the fundraising grow, she said. She began the fundraising effort with her brother, Kraig Puccia, on March 20. 

“To see it balloon into a community effort has been really nice,” Puccia said. “We are stronger together.” 

Puccia has been making some of the deliveries to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital and Fort Totten, which is serving as the headquarters for ambulances and EMTs that have come to help from around the country. 

Puccia (l.) delivers bagels and coffee to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital staff (Photo courtesy of Puccia)

“The FDNY is overburdened and to see those EMTs come in on ambulances with license plates from all over the country — Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee and Minnesota — left me so grateful for their service to our suffering city. I thought those brave men and women are New Yorkers today,” Puccia said. 

FDNY and EMT workers at Fort Totten (Photo courtesy of Puccia)

For Azmat, it’s been a privilege coordinating with a group of kind, proactive and passionate citizen-leaders to help serve their frontline heroes, she said. 

“My family has been focusing our efforts for meal-drops for the Elmhurst Hospital ER staff particularly, and have been proud to support efforts across the Queens Hospital system,” Azmat said. “The world seems dark sometimes, we’re all working to light candles together.”