By Jeff French Segall
City Council Member Gale Brewer had announced that at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, her office would start distributing KN95 masks and test kits at her Columbus Avenue office, between 87th and 88th Streets. By the time this reporter arrived at 4:45PM, the distribution had already begun. Brewer, her husband Cal Snyder, and Rosalba Rodríguez, her District Office Director, quickly and efficiently prepared and handed out bag after bag of protective materials.
The line was long and within five minutes had stretched back and turned the corner onto West 88th Street. The temperature was 27 degrees and Councilmember Brewer and her two helpers, noting how those waiting on line were shivering in the cold, had decided to begin the distribution early.
Each person received a blue bag filled with a test kit, a sack of masks and some literature. There seemed to have been upwards of 200 people on line, and by 5 p.m. the supply of test kits had been exhausted. As she apologized, Gale told constituents that they’d given out more than a thousand test kits, and that some people requested and had been given more than just one test kit. The distribution of masks went on for about ten minutes longer, until they, too, were gone.
Gale was extremely apologetic to all those who had to leave empty-handed. “I’m so sorry. So terribly sorry. We’ll do this again in a month, and I’m going to ask for many more test kits and masks. So sorry that there weren’t more.” Even those who came too late thanked her for all her hard work and some said that they’d be sure to come earlier next time.
On Thursday, we received the following statement from Councilmember Brewer:
The response to our KN95 mask and test kit giveaway on January 26 was overwhelming. In fact, we ran out of PPE within 15 minutes. And due to a line that stretched down the block and the frigid temperature, we began distribution at 4:45pm. I apologize to all those who were unable to get their supply. For everyone we disappointed, we will provide them with the same PPE if they send us their name and address. We are doing so for those who gave us contact information. And as long as city and state government entities send us new supplies, and Covid continues, we will conduct distribution events on a monthly basis. If you need assistance with this or other issues, we are reachable at 212-873-0282 or email@example.com. Please also sign up for our newsletter if you are not already on the list.