Since the Covid-19 crisis outbreak in the New York area, with UJA’s support our nonprofit partners have responded to a range of critical needs. Here are the stories of how our partners helped New Yorkers during this pandemic.
When Ana lost her job as a lunch helper in a public school and an afternoon babysitter because of the pandemic, she worried for the future. Commonpoint Queens helped Ana get free training that led to a new job as a home health aide. “I’m feeling much more confident about the future now,” Ana says. Read more.
Alexandra, a senior at The Leffell School in Westchester, a coeducational Jewish day school, is glad to attend classes in person again. A UJA grant to nearly 50 Jewish day schools across the New York region, serving 35,000 students, made it possible. “There’s something special about being in a physical classroom again after being virtual for so long,” Alexandra says. Read more.
Drivers at JASA continue to deliver meals to homebound elderly in Queens and Brooklyn. To help keep everyone safe, UJA has stepped up to fund and secure hard-to-come by personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves. Read more.
A brother, who has disabilities, burying his 37-year-old brother who also has disabilities. This is just one of the 128 burials the Hebrew Free Burial Association (HFBA), a UJA partner, has made possible in the last four weeks. To put that into perspective, over the same period last year, 30 burials occurred. “We’re overwhelmed. But we haven’t turned any cases away,” says Amy Koplow, HFBA executive director. Read more.
Like many retirees, Murray worked part time to supplement his fixed income until he lost his job because of the pandemic. That’s when our nonprofit partner Commonpoint Queens stepped in to help with home-delivered meals. Read more.
Careen is a loving single mom to her young son with autism. When the coronavirus outbreak reached New York, Careen could no longer work at her part-time job because she needed to care for her son whose school had closed. Without her modest income, Careen has turned an occasional visit to the food pantry at the JCC of Staten Island -- a UJA partner -- into a weekly visit. Read more.
Many single-parent families were just getting by before the pandemic. Now it’s even harder. The Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House is committed to making sure no family struggles alone. Read more.
A single mom shares her many worries during the Covid-19 crisis, and how financial aid she received from the Washington Heights Y arrived just at the right time. Read more.
Mosholu Montefiore Community Center in the Bronx is a lifeline to many individuals and families who are immigrants and undocumented immigrants. The center’s caring support is needed now more than ever. Read more.
Many people on the Lower East Side who are low-income and often tip-based workers now need assistance during the overwhelming circumstances in the current crisis. Educational Alliance is there to help. Read more.
Esther and Daniel are both CUNY college students with big dreams. They received emergency cash assistance through UJA and the Hebrew Free Loan Society to help keep their education on track. “This grant makes me feel my community has my back,” says Daniel. Read more.
Minna, 97, is a Holocaust survivor who used to enjoy a daily hot meal for lunch and her Shabbat group at the Washington Heights Y. With the coronavirus outbreak causing the Washington Heights Y to temporarily close its doors, the staff checks in with Minna by phone and makes sure she continues to receive a hot kosher mail daily, thanks to volunteers. “Hard times can bring out the kindness in people,” Minna says. Read more.
Rae, 97, is an active participant in Chaverim and the L’Chaim Group, two weekly programs for Holocaust survivors at the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC in Cedarhurst. With her weekly programs closed because of the coronavirus, the Gural JCC staff is stepping in with phone calls to keep tabs on Rae’s emotional, physical, and social well-being. As Rae has said many times to staff, “We need to reach out to each other.” Read more.
The Selfhelp Virtual Senior Center online program started several years ago to help homebound seniors fight isolation by connecting with each other and by taking online classes. It’s been a particular boon now in the stressful days of the pandemic. As Nelya, a Holocaust survivor, says, “I’m grateful for these online classes. It helps distract me from the news. Read more.
Sarah, 75, lives alone and grapples with lupus. Now she’s showing symptoms of Covid-19. Westchester Jewish Community Services is making daily phone calls to Sarah and helping with referrals to local resources and medical facilities. For Passover, Sarah will receive one of the free, pre-made seder meals from UJA. UJA is providing 8,500 home-delivered seder meals to individuals and families in need in our area. “I’m so very grateful for all of this help,” Sarah says. Read more.
During the best of times, the elderly in our community can face risks to their safety because of exploitation, mental alertness, or other issues. In this challenging time of the coronavirus, JASA is making a critical difference for clients like Dorothy, in her late 80s with dementia and physical disabilities, whose son financially exploited her. Read more.
Parents worry what will happen to their children if either parent gets sick. Now compound that worry by a pandemic. Taylor, a young adult who has Asperger’s, and his mom Darnell found critical support during the pandemic when Darnell’s husband contracted Covid-19. The Jack and Shirley Center for Special Needs at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan made a real difference for the family. “The care and concern for participants at Adaptations goes beyond offering a Zoom chat or activity. People really care.” Read more.
Elana, an adult who has autism, lived independently in her own apartment and for over 10 years attended the Long Island Friends Experience (LIFE) program at the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC. Now Elana has had to move into her parents' home and struggles with her loss of independence. With the help of the JCC, Elana's staying connected to her LIFE peers through virtual programs and learning to adjust to the new reality in our world today. Read more.
Michael was grieving the loss of his beloved wife of 20 years. He found the support he needed at the Jewish Board. His care coordinator offered words that became a touchstone he relies on to this day. “She told me, that grieving doesn’t have a time limit and I can grieve as long as I need to and be strong for my kids,” says Michael. Read more.
When Alice’s husband died in a New York City hospital at the beginning of the pandemic, she lost her lifetime partner of 31 years and her best friend. If that weren’t hard enough lockdown meant Alice couldn’t sit a traditional shiva, receiving visitors and the comfort of family and friends. Thankfully, she didn’t have to suffer alone with her grief. Alice found invaluable bereavement counseling at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, a UJA partner. Read more.
Valentina, who grapples with mental health issues, lived with her father until he died this February. Uncertain how she would pay the rent and other expenses, Valentina turned to Selfhelp and found critical assistance and emotional support through daily visits to their office. One month later the coronavirus outbreak led Selfhelp to close their doors and her visits stopped. Now Valentina receives daily phone calls from her case manager. These calls help ensure Valentina’s not struggling alone as she mourns her father and begins the transition to living her life without him. Read more.
Hinda and David live in Staten Island with their six children and get by on a meager income. Buying kosher for Passover food is a challenge. The Staten Island JCC was able to assist the family thanks to Met Council and UJA’s emergency aid. Now families like Hinda and David's are receiving the support they need to celebrate the holiday during this difficult time. Read more.
When seniors in the community faced having a seder alone this year because of the pandemic, some didn’t have their own seder plate in their home. Students at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) decided to put their STEM skills into action. Using 3-D printing technology, they created 30 seder plates that were distributed to the elderly through the Gural JCC. As Benjamin Gross, a HAFTR director says, “The project allowed students to learn more about the coronavirus crisis and also help people in a time of need.” Read more.
As communities across New York — both Jewish and otherwise — face newfound hardships, it's essential that we weather the storm together. To help our interfaith neighbors find solace in this time of struggle, and to honor the traditions of Ramadan, we've sent 2,000 pounds of dates to the Council of Peoples Organization (COPO), a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that supports low-income Muslim immigrant families. Read more.
In Israel the leadership command center of MAOZ provides valuable connections to coordinate solutions for the pandemic’s pressing problems — and it's designed to reach the country’s diverse communities. MAOZ is one of the recipients of UJA’s $1 million emergency funding allocated to several partners to help Israel during this crisis. “Working together, we’re addressing our weaknesses quickly now,” says Dr. Assi Cicurel, a community doctor in the Negev. Read more.