Prepared by FFWPU USA (Courtesy of From Fashion, With Love)
The New Yorker hotel has welcomed a new kind of guest during the global coronavirus pandemic. About 800 nurses are now calling it home, joining thousands more in the fight against Covid19. New York City quickly became the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak, prompting a statewide lockdown with nurses brought in from around the country through staffing companies. Hotels soon became a prime housing option for the mass influx of medical personnel. “This has been an incredible way to help in a great time of need,” said Mike Fiorentino, part of the New Yorker hotel and Manhattan Center management, which are both assets of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA.
New York City is also considered a fashion capital of the world. Subsequently, the New Yorker hotel rolled out a red carpet to distribute gift bags of various products collected by the nonprofit From Fashion, With Love. “This nonprofit was created just three weeks ago through one woman’s connections in the fashion industry,” said Joanne, one of the organizers of the giveaway. “We wanted to do something to show our love and gratitude for the nurses, so we came up with the idea to reach out to fashion brands to get products donated. The gift bags are to show our love and appreciation of the life-saving work that they are doing.”
About 2,500 gift bags were handed out on the second floor of the hotel on April 28 and 30. Birkenstock, Sam Edelman, and Splendid were among 34 brands that donated products, including casual wear, socks, shoes, and other essentials. “This is really like a big hug to all of the nurses,” said Joanne. “Even if we put a smile on their face for just a minute, it’s worth it. We asked the brands to give stuff that was casual and comfortable for them to wear. The hotel has been so supportive, from moving and unpacking all of the boxes, to helping us stuff gift bags until late at night, it’s been tremendous.”
It’s been six weeks since many nurses first arrived in the city, some traveling hundreds of miles from home. “It’s been a culture shock,” said Misty, a nurse from South Carolina. “I’ve never been to New York City, but it’s been amazing to be so welcomed by the community. I can’t believe how supportive everyone has been throughout this crisis.”
While city firefighters and police have paid tribute to the nurses, and a local bus company charters them to and from the hotel, long hours at various hospitals throughout the city have left many nurses exhausted. “I’ve been at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, where we’ve seen the worst Covid cases,” said Misty. However, daily meals and refreshments have also been provided in the hotel lobby, courtesy of local restaurants and other donors, creating more ease and comfort during a stressful time. “I have been so humbled by getting all of our essential needs taken care of so we can help take care of others,” said Roman, a nurse from Oklahoma. “This is keeping us encouraged because we all have our own emotional and spiritual needs that need to be met.”
Nurses were astonished by the gift bags full of merchandise, along with the ever-growing support from their new community. “It’s really heartwarming to know that there are people here who are caring for us and appreciating us in different ways,” said Philomena, a nurse from Texas. “I feel blessed; this was an incredible opportunity.”
“It’s overwhelming how much we are appreciated here,” added Misty. “We weren’t expecting any of this because we came here to serve. It’s just amazing to see the entire globe working together.”