From hosting toy drives for underprivileged youth to donating money to help others fight wrongful convictions, Korey Wise—a member of the Exonerated Five—has been dedicated to paying it forward. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harlem native furthered his community-focused philanthropic efforts by providing food for senior citizens in his hometown, PIX 11 reported.
Wise teamed up with Councilman Bill Perkins, Harlem District Leader Keith Lilly and a group of local teenagers to deliver food to over 100 elderly residents living at Harlem’s Schomburg Plaza. The youth who participated volunteered after finishing their online school studies. Wise says it’s important for the community to rally around the seniors during this time of need. “I love being here,” he told the news outlet. “We have to go back to the essence anyway. Just give to them. Visit them.” Lilly echoed Wise’s sentiments stating that he hopes this act of generosity inspires youth from around the world to lead similar efforts in their local communities. “It’s a lesson of giving back,” he said. “Kids all over should take this as a guiding point to do things that are positive for our community.” They plan on making more food deliveries with the help of the nonprofit organization Meals on Wheels.
There has been a focus on fighting hunger throughout the community during the coronavirus crisis. Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network transformed the NAN’s Harlem-based headquarters into a community kitchen to prepare thousands of meals for low-income families, senior citizens and reentry program participants. The NAN teamed up with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen for the initiative.
Wise’s effort to combat food insecurity among senior citizens in Harlem comes months after he hosted a holiday toy drive for youth at the Lehman Houses in East Harlem.