MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Marianne Chaluisan is hoping that kindness is as contagious as COVID-19 and she’s created a special Facebook page to spread it around. Kindness, that is, not the disease.
The longtime Mahopac resident started a Mahopac Moms Facebook page eight years ago and won an award from the Putnam County Business Council last October honoring her accomplishment.
But earlier this year, when Chaluisan began hearing about this strange virus emanating from China, she grew concerned. When it arrived in New York—the lawyer in New Rochelle, being among the first diagnosed cases—she knew she had to act. So, she began posting about it on the Mahopac Moms page, looking for volunteers to help out.
Soon, she realized she needed a dedicated Facebook page and so several weeks ago she created “Mahopac Moms Help Out the Community During the Coronavirus.” Since then, the page has gone, well, sort of viral.
The original Mahopac Moms page started with just eight members and grew to 6,500. It now includes dads as well when Chaluisan discovered there were plenty of single fathers out there.
Now, she hopes the new page will become as popular and help make life a bit more bearable during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I put a post out to the members [on the original page] to see if there were any elderly folks or family members who needed pickup for their medicines, food shopping and things like that,” she said. “I said I would help.”
Immediately, she started getting responses from others who wanted to pitch in as well.
“I didn’t want to confuse it with Mahopac Moms, so I started the new page,” she said. “Now, we have people offering things like free babysitting, help with tutoring, dog walking, and dog sitting, grocery shopping. The kids are at home and are getting antsy and the moms need some help.”
Thanks to Mahopac Moms Help Out the Community During the Coronavirus, many folks who need help are now getting it. For example, a woman messaged Chaluisan wondering whether she could spare some toilet paper.
“I told her I could spare some toilet tissue; I had four rolls that I could give her,” Chaluisan said. “She also needed rubbing alcohol because she’s diabetic and needs to take shots.”
So, Chaluisan put together a package of toilet paper, paper towels, alcohol wipes, and rubber gloves and dropped it off outside the woman’s front door.
Through the Facebook page, she also learned last week of a doctor at Westchester Medical Center, Dr. Howard Luks, who was running low on masks. Chaluisan was able to purchase 10 of the masks and was working with the doctor to get them delivered to the right place.
“We all need to work together,” she said. “Showing kindness is a big thing for me.”
Those who want to volunteer and those who could use a helping hand can go to the page and find out more. So many people have come forward that she’s enlisted the help of her friend, Lori Miley, to administer the page and respond to people.
Chaluisan suffers from a syndrome known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a disorder that causes chronic pain. Although she wears a brace, she’s still mobile, and she knows what it’s like to need a little help from time to time.
Still, she says, the new Facebook page and this story are not about her. They’re about all the Mahopac residents who have stepped up and joined her to help others throughout the crisis.
“The response has been great,” she said. “There are always people joining and offering their services free of charge.”
Once the crisis is over, Chaluisan will take down the page and go back to just administering the original Mahopac Moms group page—something she very much looks forward to.
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