Coronavirus News: SOMOS health care provides food, supplies during COVID-19

INWOOD, New York City (WABC) -- Health care workers from SOMOS Community Care packaged up and gave away thousands of bags of food to those in need in Manhattan Monday.

People lined up 6 feet apart along 207th Street in Inwood to receive two days' worth of food, juices, cleaning materials, cooking oil, and in some cases, face masks. The recipients say the free handouts make a big difference.

"There are four of us at home," one man said. "We give thanks to God for this help, because it's more than a month and a half that I'm out of work."

SOMOS is a network of health care providers for Medicaid members located in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. In addition to its regular operations, the organization is also providing food and supplies to those in need.

"People have no jobs, they lose insurance, there is no way to get medication," SOMOS Board Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj said. "Their savings for emergencies is $100. That's gone."

The food giveaway is certainly very rewarding for the staff at SOMOS, but also very painful. They have lost five staff members, four of them pediatricians, and the fifth a member of the Board of Directors and one of the founders of the organization.

The flags are hanging at half staff to honor those who lost their fight against a relentless disease.

"It's our people who are going to work every day, it's our people who are treating other patients," SOMOS board member and Leader of Cultural Design Henry Munoz said. "We wanted to pause for a minute, remember them."

SOMOS worked in partnership with the World Central Kitchen run by Chef Jose Andres and Marc Anthony's Maestro Cares Foundation to distribute the meals to the needy.

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