PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Center on the Square Director
Laura Marceca distributing the
City Meals emergency food box to
BY TEQUILA MINSKY
“This is a huge change,” Judy
Levin, Director of Senior Center
Services at Greenwich
House, immediately pointed out.
It was the middle of the fi rst very hectic
day when the Greenwich House Senior
Centers were closed, as are many other
institutions where New Yorkers congregate
in numbers, all in an effort to limit social
contact where the COVID-19 virus might
However, these New Yorkers are all over
the age of 60.
The centers offer lunch and a wide array
of classes, providing for body and soul of
New York seniors and now staff are working
on how to best serve members under
“The fi rst priority was organizing the
grab-and-go lunch program, since lunch
is such a substantial part of the centers’
services,” said Levin.
On this fi rst day of a closed center, a
sunny yet chilly Monday, seniors lined up
outside of 20 Washington Square North
for their grab-and-go hot meal (chicken or
Greenwich House continues
to feed, comfort seniors
Seniors waiting to receive grab-and-go lunch from the center on
Washington Square North.
vegetarian option—tofu). All city senior
centers also received a one-time box of
non-perishable staples, an emergency meal,
supplied by City Meals and given out on
Seniors were let into the center at 20
Washington Square North in twos for their
“We served 85 lunches today,” said Center
on the Square Director Laura Marceca,
happy that all went smoothly, “and all the
City Meals boxes were distributed. We
will be providing lunches between 12-2,
Monday through Friday.”
There are four Greenwich House center
locations in Greenwich Village and Tribeca.
Grab-and-go lunches for members are
also being distributed from 12-2pm in the
lobby of the Judith White Center, Barrow
Street, from the landing at Our Lady of
Pompeii Center, and March 23 will begin
in the Independence Plaza location, from
12:00-1:30pm. Collectively, Greenwich
House Senior Centers serve lunch to 355
to 400 at the four locations.
During the course of the year, hundreds
of seniors also participate in the four
Carrying the emergency City
Meals food allocation.
centers’ arts and culture and health and
wellness activities: from fi lm screenings,
to Italian, Shakespeare and art workshops
to yoga, dance and peer group discussions.
Members also use the social work services.
In this regard, the support services of
Greenwich House are moving into action.
Case Assistance Services will be available
primarily via phone and the social worker,
checking voicemail, will promptly return
calls, responding to questions and concerns.
A phone bank comprised of center directors,
assistants, and case assistance staff
will make regular calls to members who
they have not seen at the grab and go pick
up for at least one week. They will also
develop a plan for meal home delivery for
those in need.
Also, the Senior Health and Consultation
Center staff will be available by phone to
speak with members in need of additional
support related to the stress and trauma of
the COVID-19 crisis.
“We’re looking into virtual classes, online
learning, telephone conferences and
classes,” Marceca said. “We want people
Waiting in line on Washington
Square North to pick up lunch.
to keep socializing, even if it’s virtual. We
don’t want people to feel lonely.”
“Everything went well today,” said this
very adaptive director. “We want to make
sure everybody has what they need. We
want to make sure everybody has suffi cient
meals and as much social contact as possible,”
she continued, adding, “We wish we
could do more.”
Contents of emergency food supply
provided by City Meals.
Seniors, waiting to receive grab-and-go lunch from the center on
Washington Square North, were let in two at a time to collect their
16 March 19, 2020 Schneps Media