Brooklyn native Shelley Worrell, founder and chief curator of Caribbeing, is now working to distribute 40,000 masks to essential workers, on behalf of her lifestyle organization. As the demand for masks grows for frontline workers every day, many community organizations are rushing to help meet PPE needs.

Her community efforts do not go unnoticed, as she was just recently raising IPad funds for Brookdale Hospital COVID-19 patients and delivering meals to emergency room workers in SUNY Downstate and Kings County Hospital.

Worrell was initially approached by Ricky de La Costa, an employee for New York’s  Economic Development Corporation (EDC). As demands were mounting and public backlash regarding lack of substantial protective gear within disenfranchised communities, the city was looking for a partner to help distribute PPE in Flatbush’s Caribbean community.

“Of course, given our deep connections and ties in Central Brooklyn, we decided this is something we definitely wanted to help our community with, said Shelley Worrell.”

Worrell and her team were only contacted about two weeks ago, highlighting her organization’s deep community ties to allow for such a fast and efficient PPE turnover.

Kings Theatre; PPE; COVID-19
Last week, PPE equipment was distributed at Kings Theatre.

The group plans to distribute their resources out at Saint Paul’s Church, Kings Theatre, and the Flatbush-Nostrand Junction Bid near Brooklyn College. More groups such as New York Community Board 9 and the NYPD are working in coordination to assure that everything goes smoothly. And social distancing techniques will be upheld throughout all distribution events.

“These distributional events are intended for frontline workers. Primarily, people who have small businesses like your local corner store. But of course, we will not deny any community member in need of PPE.”

This is now Worrell’s third community project since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Her organization is always on standby as they are approached by different initiatives. The majority of projects rely upon the group’s capacity, forcing them to ask if they have the resources needed to reach a community-based need. During a time when many community-based organizations are struggling to stay afloat, Caribbeing is more than thankful for their ability to help others.

While Worrell is more than thankful to those who helped with distributional efforts, she cannot give enough praise to the frontline workers she is working to protect.

“They are really keeping Brooklyn alive and well. We appreciate them and the work that they are doing. Stay strong. Take of yourself and your family. Frontline workers are truly keeping Brooklyn safe as they put their lives at risk.”

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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