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Hewlett High School juniors create COV-AID

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With the coronavirus vaccine continuing to be rolled out in the United States, three juniors at Hewlett High School have begun an initiative that they hope will assist community members in booking vaccine appointments.

Jesse Menashe, Jared Glassman and Benjamin Meringoff created what they are calling a community action project named COV-AID that aims to help people having difficulty making a Covid-19 vaccination appointment for themselves, a family member or a friend. The service is available to anyone in New York state who meets the eligibility requirements to receive the vaccine.

The three students say they have all known each other since the second grade and said the pandemic inspired them to make a positive impact. “During Covid while we were sitting around quarantining, we were thinking that instead of sitting around doing nothing we can do something that would positively impact the community,” Glassman said. 

Glassman added that he was also inspired to help individuals get vaccine appointments after his grandfather had a tough bout with Covid-19 last spring. “He and my grandma recently were having trouble finding an appointment to get the vaccine,” Glassman said. “We thought why not provide a service to help people so that they don’t go through the same struggles other people are going through?”

With the initiative just launching, roughly 10 people have reached out asking for assistance. Whether it is for them or a relative, the trio will then look online to search for open appointments throughout Long Island and New York City. 

“We started receiving emails from people to help them and their elderly relatives with appointments,” Menashe said. “All of us are checking constantly and we also call pharmacies to see if there are any cancellations. We have gotten a few appointments so far.”

Meringoff said that his day consists of focusing on school during the afternoon and then shifting his focus to COV-AID during the evening. “If someone reaches out to us via email, we’ll reach back out with some questions regarding information we would need to book the appointment,” he said. “I’ve noticed when trying to book an appointment online, it’s all by luck and you have to be quick.”

Menashe said he is into technology and noted how a lot of people who are currently eligible for the vaccine are not “tech savvy.” “My parents have always told me that I can use my technology skills to help out the community,” he said. “A lot of the people reaching out to us are over 80 and they may not be an expert when it comes to using the computer.”

The satisfaction of helping others is what continues to inspire Meringoff even during the pandemic. “I’m in choral at the school and every year we would go to the nursing home and sing,” he said. “You get a good feeling out of doing that. There’s a lot of things you can’t do right now because of Covid so if there’s a chance to help people and make them feel better, we should all jump at that.”

To contact COV-AID use the email address, covidhewlett2021@gmail.com.