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Near Westside Initiative collecting masks, other items for low-income residents in Syracuse

Near Westside Initiative Facebook
A bridge on Syracuse's near west side.

Volunteers in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the City of Syracuse are trying to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in their community.

On Syracuse’s near west side, poverty reigns. And Near Westside Initiative Executive Director Gregorio Jimenez said that means making it through the coronavirus pandemic safely, takes a back seat to simple survival.

“Yah, they’re worried about getting food more than masks,” Jimenez said. “Some people are just not aware of how important everything is that’s going on. So, we’re trying to raise awareness. But then it’s also residents in our neighborhood that don’t have access to these things.”

Along with raising awareness, the Near Westside Initiative is trying to pull together protective items that residents can’t afford or can’t find in local stores; like face masks.

“They don’t have the resources to make them properly,” Jimenez said. “We’re trying to see if we can work on getting hand sanitizer as well, and what we want to do is put goodie bags together, and just have a team of our people, who are safe, and pass them out to homes and get them out to families,” Jimenez said.

The Westside Initiative offices on Otisco Street are a drop off site for any donations.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.