When Time Stood Still



R.A.I.N. is a comprehensive not-for-profit social service organization that has been a provider of quality and compassionate services since 1964. Our integrated and holistic service model addresses food insecurity through our meals on wheels program, home care services, residential housing for low-income seniors, case management, advocacy and education, and a R.A.I.N. News streaming program. We look at interventions and their impact on social determinants of health.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, R.A.I.N. was impacted tremendously. We had to quickly respond to this crisis in innovative ways to ensure that our community was taken care of and that appropriate supports were in place. We quickly learned that the Bronx had 6 of the 10 designated hot spots for COVID-19 cases in New York City. Our beloved Borough of the Bronx quickly became ground zero for COVID-19, for not only infection rates but mortality- this was terrifying. It is a well-known and documented fact that the Bronx is the unhealthiest county in New York State, ranking last in health outcomes. As we analyzed the data, it was of no surprise that our brothers and sisters most impacted in our area were from Hispanic and African-American backgrounds. This posed a tremendous challenge because we were dealing with a community that is significantly impacted by social determinants of health. This meant that we were working with those that are marginalized by society due to poverty, lack of access to appropriate nutrition, medical care, housing, overcrowding in apartments with intergenerational family compositions, isolation, crime, low health literacy, and poor health outcomes due to complex comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity. Our minority community had limited opportunity for social distancing and minimal options outside of public transportation, which increased the risk for COVID-19. 

Intervention/Action Plan: 

R.A.I.N. went into emergency preparedness mode. To ensure everyone's safety, we kept a limited number of staff at our locations while other staff and social work interns worked remotely. Our Meals on Wheels program saw an increase in demand for home-delivered meals to our homebound older adults. Our Cucina Dolores Mobile Food Kitchen provided meals to displaced minority workers in the South Bronx. Since the pandemic, R.A.I.N. has conducted over 215,000 telephone reassurance calls to our members to ensure their safety. Home care was engaged in coordinating our homebound clients' complex needs with their home health aides while also distributing personal protective equipment. We had to train our social work interns and staff in trauma-focused interventions, which continues this day.  

Currently, R.A.I.N. is represented in the New York State Vaccine Task Force and has also had successful vaccine drives focusing on our older adult and front-line workers. Our workforce primarily mirrors black and brown communities, and they serve as advocates to ensure a safety net for our most vulnerable.  


View the entire April HIGN newsletter here