In a matter of weeks, more than 25,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York City, making the Big Apple the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. And, according to officials, this is just the beginning. Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 22, New York is not expected to reach its peak in coronavirus cases for at least another three weeks. Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted earlier this week that half of the city’s 8 million residents should expect to contract the novel virus before it is contained. While the entire city is being impacted by the outbreak, one organization is stepping up to make sure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers are not forgotten in this crisis.
United Way of New York City (UWNYC), a nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income New Yorkers, launched the COVID-19 Community Fund on Wednesday to provide those in need with crucial resources such as food and tools for virtual learning. The COVID-19 Community Fund will provide support for 600 community-based local partners that work with communities that are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak.
“United Way of New York City has always been committed to supporting our communities during our City’s most critical moments,” said Sheena Wright, the first woman to be named president and CEO of the organization in its 80-year history, in a statement. “Through the COVID-19 Community Fund, we are going to provide a backbone of support to our 600 community-based organization partners who are managing this crisis throughout our great City.”
According to a press release, the organization’s network of community partners will provide direct services through UWNYC’s ReadNYC, FeedNYC and StrengthenNYC programs, which include connecting hungry New Yorkers to emergency food providers through the Plentiful App as well as providing food for low-income schoolchildren. The fund will also support remote learning programs for students by providing them with books, laptops, and tablets. In addition, it will help local organizations distribute safety supplies like masks, gloves, and bags.
To help support the Fund’s initial kickoff, The New York Jets and the Johnson family made a $500,000 donation while National Grid offered $250,000.
“The United Way continues to improve lives around the world, and we need community-based organizations more than ever at this moment,” said Jets CEO Christopher Johnson in a statement. “Everyone has been impacted by this invisible enemy, and the United Way is meeting it head-on at home, helping those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak.”
Individuals, businesses, and community groups interested in supporting New Yorkers in need can contribute to the Fund directly by clicking here.