Local residents show acts of kindness during pandemic

Photos by Tom Rivers: Cheryl Kast and her daughter Sierra seal a box of supplies to be shipped to healthcare workers on the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, which has 1,000 hospital beds and is docked in New York City. Logan Kast also helps get the supplies ready.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2020 at 2:30 pm

‘Healthcare workers helping healthcare workers’

Cheryl Kast knows this Covid-19 pandemic is hard on people in many ways. Not only is there worry about their health, but the economy has drastically slowed down with nonessential businesses closed.

Public schools also are entering their fifth week of being off limits to students and staff.

People want to reach out and help others, but they are encouraged to stay home as much as possible, stay at least six feet apart in public and wait out the pandemic.

Kast, a physician’s assistant at Oak Orchard Health, and her family spearheaded sending more than a dozen care packages to healthcare workers on the U.S. Navy Comfort ship, which is being used as a hospital in New York City.

The Kast family recruited friends to fill more than a dozen boxes with blankets, egg crate mattress pads, granola bars, 20 pounds of fudge, trail mix, cheese fries and toiletries.

“There isn’t much we feel like we can do right now, but this is something,” Kast said.

She lives in Albion. She graduated from Attica. One of her classmates, Kathy (Smith) Gabriel, works at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and helped assemble the staff on the Comfort.

Kast’s daughter Sierra is a junior at Albion. Last month, before schools were shut down, she attended a trip with her classmates to Washington D.C. Sierra asked the students on the “Close Up” trip to DC to help fill the boxes with supplies. The students and their social studies teacher, Rich Gannon, responded.

Cheryl Kast also had a strong response from her colleagues at Oak Orchard Health. The board members at Oak Orchard also agreed to pay the shipping for the boxes.

“It’s healthcare workers helping healthcare workers,” Kast said.

John Kast of Albion checks the packages at Watt Farms Country Market. More than a dozen boxes will be sent to the Comfort ship in New York City.

Flowers for nursing home residents

Last week Mary Lewis received a call from a local resident. He wanted to buy flowers for all the residents at the nursing home in Albion.

Lewis, owner of Creekside Floral in Medina, prepared 60 vases with flowers for residents at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Facility.

The man who paid for the flowers wants to remain anonymous.

“He wanted to cheer them up,” said Lewis, whose store is closed to the public, but she continues to take orders online and by phone. “He wanted something for each person to have to brighten their day.”

Lewis normally has five employees but they aren’t working right now with the shop largely closed.

She said people also are ordering flowers to send to families who have lost loved ones, but can’t hold funerals or calling hours because of the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people.

“We still have people sending flowers,” Lewis said. “People just want to cheer everybody up.”

Apples and cookies for county employees

Provided photo: Apples and cookies were delivered to the county office building last week for county employees.

The Orleans County Administration Building is closed to the public but many employees are still showing up at work and assisting residents by phone or through email.

LynOaken Farms in Lyndonville and Medina wanted to show its appreciation for the essential workforce in the county government. Last week LynOaken delivered many apples for the county workforce.

Teresa Gaylard, the children’s librarian at the Hoag Library and a member of the current Leadership Orleans program, also sent the county employees a tray of cookies from Case-Nic Cookies in Medina.

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