This past Friday, the power of community and mutual aid was on full display at the Bronx Terminal Market. Hundreds of people lined up and waited in 40-degree weather to receive brand new winter coats handed out at a coat giveaway event organized by Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner of the 77th district, in partnership with the Bronx Terminal Market and New York Cares.
Amidst a pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on the nation’s economy, Bronx residents have experienced the worst symptoms of the virus.
And as vaccine efforts ramp up due to the Biden administrations push to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office, food insecurity, a burgeoning housing crisis and soaring unemployment rates are but a few of the most dominant side-effects Bronx residents are dealing with.
Events, such as Friday’s coat drive and a concurrent food drive just a few doors down, help to restore faith in a community that has endured the worst the pandemic had to offer.
Kendall Wright, a local resident, attended the giveaway to secure coats for her family members. Ms. Wright expressed her gratitude for the leaders of the community providing resources: “It’s really about the community helping each other out … Some people don’t have access to the necessary things that they need so it’s good to have individuals like a politician that’s giving this out to say that they care, that they’re concerned. It’s very helpful”
Edwin Guerrero stopped by the coat giveaway to secure coats to give to the porters in his building on 164th street and the Grand Concourse. Last week, Guerrero noticed that the porters’ coats appeared to be battered and unable to keep them warm during the recent frigid temperatures.
After realizing he had no coats to personally donate to the men, Guerrero serendipitously received robo-call voicemail from Assemblywoman Joyner’s office earlier this week alerting him of the coat giveaway.
James Godbold, a resident of a homeless shelter near the Bronx Terminal Market, volunteered at the coat giveaway. He helped out with crowd control and spread positive energy as he shared jokes with those waiting in line.
Godbold expressed that this pandemic has revealed just how much alike we all are as people across social and economic classes continue to suffer due to its impact. He added that we need to be show each other more compassion.
“You see somebody down, extend your arm and lift them up,” Godbold said.
About the author: Henry Danner is a NY state licensed Social Worker and visual storyteller. Using his camera as a tool to influence change, Henry wields the power of photojournalism and documentary photography to highlight poetic nature of everyday life, display the power of community and share stories that heal. Henry is a member of Columbia University Journalism School’s class of 2022