By Emily Drooby
The roads and sidewalks surrounding New York’s Penn Station are normally packed with people, but now they’re silent. It’s an eerie scene.
Millions of New Yorkers are inside their homes, hidden from the deadly Coronavirus. However, one group of people cannot hide: the homeless.
A non-profit New York City-based group, the Guardian Angels, have stepped up to help.
They have been patrolling Penn Station, the subways and other places where homeless people seek shelter.
“The last few days that we have been out doing it, they’re forgotten, people pass by them,” explained Jose Gonzalez, who has been with the Guardian Angels for over 25 years.
The group has been putting themselves at risk to make sure that the homeless have food, water, a way to wash their hands and support during this scary time.
Guardian Angel Jose Mejias said, “They have a smile on their face we let them know, hey, we’re here, this is the Guardian Angels. We are here to give you some food, and just know that we are here and we love you.”
According to the non-profit The Bowery Mission, nearly one in every 125 New Yorkers is homeless.
The group’s founder, Curtis Sliwa, says they were inspired to help because the government and local programs were not doing enough to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The homeless and the emotionally disturbed persons are the last, the last in the chain of humanity and we are making sure they get cared for, ” explained Sliwa.
Sliwa, who is considering a run for mayor, said he would have handled the pandemic differently if he was in charge.
“You have to show that you’re compassionate as the mayor. You have to be out there with the people, and not just the rich people making your contributions, but the homeless, the emotionally disturbed, the poor, the impoverished the indigent,” he explained.
As the fight against the coronavirus rages on, the group is urging the young and healthy to help. As they always say, one person can make a difference.