An Asian American registered nurse started a crowdfunding campaign for the homeless and elderly stuck inside their homes in New York City amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Justin Tsui, who is currently pursuing a doctorate of nursing practice in psychiatric mental health at Columbia University, has been helping the elderly since the lockdown on March 22, according to his post on GoFundMe.
“I have been purchasing and delivering fresh groceries to three Chinese seniors who live alone and have no support system; I also pick up their medications from the pharmacies and deliver them to their front door,” he said. “All three are widows and their children either live outside of New York, or in the case of one of them– her only son died of covid.”
The total cost to help the three seniors with their medications is $540 a month, but as the lockdown continues, so does the financial needs for his cause.
“I originally thought I could support them myself, but the reality that this lockdown might be going on a lot longer than we all planned is hitting hard, and I have to be realistic about my own finances,” Tsui said. “I’ve been living off loans because I am in school, but as this goes on and prices of fresh produce and meats has also gone up, I can no longer continue supporting them my own.”
The elderly Tsui is caring for can’t handle the meal their agencies deliver as they are not accustomed to the cold food as well as uncooked vegetables like carrots. In his example, one of the elderly received large raw carrots, but the woman barely had any teeth.
“It is not only difficult for them to go get groceries due to their physical conditions, but they are also fearful of venturing out because of acts of violence against the elderly that have popped up around Chinatown,” Tsui said.
He added that one elderly woman was beaten up by a gang of young adults when she went out shopping during the first week of social distancing. The teens pushed her to the ground, kicked her and took her money.
“When I did a home visit during the last week of March to assess her to make sure she didn’t need hospitalization from the injuries, I found her bed-bound with bruises on her scalp and forehead, a black eye, multiple bruises across her abdomen, on her arms, and her legs,” the man said. “She has since made a recovery but is too afraid to venture out to get groceries.”
In addition to the elderly, Tsui is also helping the homeless roaming in Chinatown by giving them hot meals.
Tsui started doing the selfless deed by feeding three homeless people on and off before he organized the fundraiser. But now, the number has grown to approximately 15 people daily.
The campaign has raised $12,216 over its $10,000 goal.
Images via GoFundMe