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, many 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.

Whit’s End is still open for takeout and delivery, and chef Whitney Aycock is doing what he can to make it easier on his customers. He is currently offering free pizza to all first responders. Additionally, as Whit’s End often has entertainment, he has been doing what he can to keep the magic going—literally. Some who go to the restaurant to pick up an order may find themselves being entertained by someone like magician Adam Cardone or sword-eater Gnarly Marley. Last weekend, customers were treated to a few tricks while waiting for their takeout.

Facemasks are medical equipment and in high demand. So much so that first responders are having trouble finding them and frontline health and hospital workers are running low on supplies. Some neighbors are trying to do what they can to help those who need masks. Edwin Williams of Arverne has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for masks, gowns and other supplies. Williams says his wife is a nurse practitioner at a top NYC hospital, which is starting to run low on these supplies. To donate, head to www.gofundme.com/f/n95-masksgloves-and-gowns-doctors-and-nurses

Some locals are also making their own masks to help the community and healthcare workers. While the masks are mostly fabric and only similar to surgical masks, they can help serve as an extra barrier over N95 masks and are reusable as long as they are washed after every use. Anya Ferring is selling these masks for $25 through Instagram: @masks4medicine or on Venmo (anya-ferring) and Paypal (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Anyone can purchase the masks and she is using any profits to make more to donate some to healthcare providers throughout Rockaway. Jamie Stuart McLeod of Polly & Esther is also making fabric masks. She advises that they are not medical grade but are reusable. She is also donating the masks to those in need around Rockaway. Reach out to her on Facebook for more information.

Kids can’t learn from their classrooms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make home feel like one. Teachers sometimes decorate classrooms for their kids. Now Rockaway WISH is asking kids to bring some joy to their new at-home learning environments by drawing rainbows and hanging them up, and then share them with WISH on their Instagram page @wishofRockaway with the hashtag #WISHingonarainbow. WISH has shared dozens of photos of local kids with their rainbows to help lift spirits during these trying times.


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