Shelton nonprofit spearheads week honoring Yale’s COVID-19 Response Team

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Moving With H.O.P.E., a Shelton-based nonprofit that provides essential services to people living with moderate-to-severe physical disabilities, has designated this week as an Appreciation Week for those at Yale fighting against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response at Yale team includes clinicians and scientists helping first responders and hospital staff keep up with testing demands; it advises on public health policy in the state and helps resolve nationwide supply chain problems.

“Life has gone completely on hold for all of this,” said Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health and a member of the team. “The number of people willing to help out whenever we have desperately reached out in need has been so inspiring. Seeing so many people come together to support each other and work towards this common goal has been incredible.”

Moving With H.O.P.E. is working with members of the Yale Postdoctoral Association and Lyft to pick up and deliver food and other tokens of appreciation to New Haven safely. The nonprofit is asking for donations to cover the costs of coffee, snacks and other goods and services for the COVID-19 Emergency Response at Yale.

“These dedicated individuals are working around the clock without the true recognition they deserve in this emergency response,” said Tad Duni, co-founder of Moving With H.O.P.E. “They are fighting for the good of our community’s health. Connecticut relies on their research and leadership. We want to sustain them, and send them a message of love, thanks and support.”

Donations will also support local businesses as the non-profit plans to purchase food or small items from community businesses, the organization said.

Visit Charity GoFundMe to make a donation.

“Appreciation Week is also part of a larger effort to connect Yale scientists and community leaders with young adults in Connecticut,” said Maikel Boot, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology and chair of the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

“We have many international postdocs at Yale that are eager to use their scientific communication skills to help their local communities during these times,” said Boot. “We are building a large network of scientists to help launch a social media and public education campaign in the coming days.”

Farian Rabbani, UConn senior and a co-founder of the campaign said, “One major goal of the campaign is to inform and engage young people so they fully understand how and when to safely help their families, neighbors, and community members. We are ready and eager.”

Getting youth involved is a must, experts said.

“Our nonprofits, who have relied heavily on help from individuals aged 40 years and older will require thousands of younger, trained volunteers to ensure those in need receive vital resources ― now, and for many months to come,” stated an open letter signed by seven public health, education and infectious disease experts in Connecticut, New York City and Washington, D.C., dated April 2.

“This campaign is an opportunity for scientists to communicate the ways that young adults can act now to change the future of this pandemic, and for young adults to engage with scientists who are also working to flatten the curve,” said Dr. Mari Armstrong-Hough, assistant professor of public health, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Epidemiology, NYU School of Global Public Health, who also signed the open letter.

“We need to reach and inspire more young people in the Valley and across Connecticut,” said Rabbani, a Seymour native and a longtime volunteer and youth development professional at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. “This campaign will ask us to take action, will describe the crucial roles we can volunteer to fill, and will explain how we can do so safely. We also will fill a critical role in our communities by collaborating and communicating with experts regularly.”

The campaign’s name will be announced by the end of the week, after volunteers have had time to vote through a Google Survey.