The United Way of Westchester and Putnam has been helping out in this crisis on multiple fronts. In addition to running its 2-1-1 referral line which helps hundreds of people each day with information on services in the COVID-19 crisis like food, medical resources, child care and more, United Way has created a special fund to help not-for-profits by awarding grants of up to $5,000 to groups who are aiding the most vulnerable. United Way has held, and is continuing to hold, food drives in Westchester and hard-hit Putnam County where food banks have closed, delivering more than 40,000 pounds of food so far in addition to making home deliveries of food to seniors and immune compromised who cannot get out.
Hillside Food Outreach, which delivers healthy food to those who are homebound and have limited income in Westchester and Putnam, was one of the organizations who received a grant.
“We are so thankful for the grant from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. It will be a tremendous help as our emergency food distribution has increased 1,200% since the crisis began,’’ said Hillside Food Outreach’s Executive Director Kathy Purdy.
Tina (not real name), a widowed, disabled senior with a compromised immune system who lives in an apartment in Westchester, thanked the United Way for making a food delivery possible. She called United Way’s 211 Helpline and they put her in contact with a non-profit that shops and delivers food to frail seniors, and the very next day Tina’s groceries were delivered.
“Oh my god, I had no idea that there was a program out there to help me get my food. Thank you and everyone at 211 for finding it for me and connecting me to them. You are all angels,” Tina said.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel said, “As this health crisis continues to evolve, I keep reminding myself to manage life one day at a time and maintain my perspective on what is truly important. To me, it’s family, friends, colleagues and the privilege of helping others.”
Photo caption: United Way volunteer makes delivery to homebound seniors and immune compromised who cannot get out to shop.