How We're Helping, and How YOU can Help, Too
It sometimes feels impossible to know what to say or do during a social crisis. When natural disasters strike and our communities are in pain, finding the best way to help seems insurmountable. And now, in the time of this global pandemic, this problem - how to help those in need - can feel all the more daunting. These are unprecedented times.
We all are facing difficulties. Some may be relatively inconsequential, like not having our favorite foods, and some may be more detrimental, like losing employment or struggling to make ends meet.
In spite of everything, our partnered outreach programs continue to operate, serving those most affected by COVID-19. We've seen brown bag lunches move to a drive-through model and feeding programs practicing social distancing. At Episcopal Charities, it is our greatest honor to provide these programs with the support they need to continue this brave work. But that work has become harder than ever. One program in the Mid-Hudson region has reported to us that they've seen a doubling in demand for breakfast and lunch, which they're serving in to-go boxes. They're now struggling to find the budget for the necessary 3,000 to-go boxes per month they require to keep their program serving food. And last week, a program connected to both Manhattan and the Bronx lost many of their service sites when they were closed for concerns surrounding coronavirus.
On March 25th, more than 50 of you joined us (via Zoom call!) to hear stories like these from our Director of Programs, Patrick Bergquist, and our Board President, Peter Keller. But you also may have heard about how we're working to distribute emergency funds to those programs in need to cover costs like to-go boxes. We're working with partnered sites and parishes to find available spaces and parking lots out of which our programs can serve food, especially to the elderly, who are both at risk and isolated.
We're so grateful to those of you who were able to join us yesterday. We are heartened by your support. If you weren't able to join us, you can view the recorded video here. We'll also be keeping these calls up weekly - details forthcoming. In the meantime, if you're looking for ways to help the most vulnerable among us, we've assembled a list below.
1. Make an online donation to Episcopal Charities. As always, 100% of your donation will go to support our programs, not overhead costs. Your funds are critical in ensuring our partnered outreach programs are able to fulfill the need they see in their communities.
2. Create a Facebook fundraiser to benefit Episcopal Charities of New York. Community organizing is more important than ever, and a Facebook fundraiser is an easy way to draw support from your circle.
3. Sign up to volunteer with Episcopal Charities, either individually, or as part of a 4-5 person "pod" of your family members, roommates, or members of your church. Many of our programs have reported volunteer shortages, since many of their typical rotation of volunteers are currently unable to serve, as they are at. higher risk of COVID-19 themselves. Our programs are working tirelessly to adapt their practices and prioritize the safety and health of their staff, clients, and volunteers. Spending even just a few hours at one of our partnered programs can ensure that service continues to those in need.
When all of us work together to take small actions, we're able to see big changes. Just a few dollars, clicks, or hours can make a huge difference for those who depend on our programs to fulfill their basic needs. In this time of uncertainty and fear, it's up to us to take care of one another. At Episcopal Charities, we're committed to keeping programs running for those who need them, but we need your help to make that happen.
Our prayers and support are with you as we all navigate these strange circumstances. Should you need assistance, have a question, or want to know more about how we're serving New Yorkers in need, drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you.
The Episcopal Charities Team
P.S. If you work at a program that has adapted to incorporate social distancing and other best practices, let us know and send us a picture. We're grateful for everything you do.