Look For the Helpers


 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers.

As with any scary ordeal, the helpers, are helping. Despite the uncertainty and chaos, may in Rockaway are doing what they can to make this a little easier on those who many not have it so easy. In the hopes of spreading positivity, here are a few examples of how locals and businesses are helping each other.

Lissa O’Shea of JKS Printing (188 Beach 116th Street) is offering half price copies to all students who need copies of worksheets, tests, etc. To make it easier, she is accepting the copies through email. Students can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. “This way, you won’t have to share them,” O’Shea wrote.

Firehouses are known to cook their own meals, but for the sake of trying to help local businesses, the Beach 116th Street firehouse has decided to order takeout going forward. “In the FDNY, ‘the meal’ is a big part of the job culture. We shop each day and cook for ourselves. In light of all our local businesses struggling, my firehouse has decided that we will not cook for ourselves and instead pick local restaurants to cook lunch and dinner for us each day till we see light at the end of the tunnel,” firefighter John Burke said. "A small token, but if we all chip in we can keep these businesses afloat so they can serve us when this is all over. Buy gift certificates if you can. Anything to help them pay their rent till this blows over.”

At a time when parents may now be faced with a situation where their kids are home from school, but they have to continue to work, several neighbors are offering assistance at low costs, and even free. Many have taken to local Facebook groups such as Friends of Rockaway Beach to share their willingness to help. One woman, Rebekah Rice wrote, “If you are a parent and need some assistance with child care (no matter the age) please let me know. I can pick up and drop off, along with hanging out with them throughout the day until you get off work.” She has offered to do it free of charge. There are many other similar offers on this page, so if you’re not following already, considering doing so.

In addition to child care, many have also offered to help go shopping for those who are elderly or unable to leave their homes. In addition to trying to operate his own business, Charlie D'Ancano of Georgina’s Bakery, is just one of many people offering to go shopping for what people need. His and many other offers can also be found on local Rockaway Facebook groups.

At a time when gyms have been forced to close, some are getting creative to continue to help their clients stay fit. CROM is now offering its members virtual at-home workout classes and boardwalk workouts. If you are a member, contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for schedules and more information. Burn Fitness has also resorted to outdoor classes. They are now offering some classes on the boardwalk and by the Riis Park clock, while keeping people socially distanced. Rockaway’s YMCA says that it will soon offer online workout classes and tips for people to stay fit while staying healthy. For more information, be sure to follow their social media pages for updates.

We hope to share more instances of people and businesses doing what they can to help others through this crisis. If you know of any that are worth sharing, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Katie McFadden