The Y Responds: Providing Essential Services During Coronavirus Pandemic

Dear Friends,

As a community, we have faced an unprecedented set of circumstances recently, and we hope you and your loved ones are finding the safety, support, and care you need.

While we made the difficult decision to temporarily cancel all non-essential in-person programs, the Y has continued to provide critical food to seniors — 961 grab-and-go and 588 delivered meals — during the last two weeks alone. Our staff has been overwhelmed with emotion by their interaction with our seniors, who continuously express their appreciation, not only for the hot meals, but even more so for the smiles and abundance of compassion they experienced.

We also continued to provide essential services to the residents at Wien House, our 100-unit facility for low income elderly and people with physical disabilities. In addition to ensuring our rigorous cleaning standards are met, our tenant services coordinator oversees meal deliveries, provides access for healthcare professionals, ensures home aides can deliver necessities and assist tenants, acts as a conduit between residents and family members, provides emotional support, and so much more.

When it became clear to the Y’s senior management team that the city or even state could mandate shelter-in-place orders, we made sure we had the infrastructure to offer as many services as possible remotely — from daily check-in phone calls to homebound seniors and persons with disabilities, from arranging food deliveries to elderly Holocaust survivors to creating online support groups for parents of children with special needs, and much more.

Our dedicated team of professionals also worked around the clock to develop a robust menu of fun and meaningful online programs for members and for the public. This week, we launched The Y @ Home — with virtual programs for our Nursery School, Y Beginnings, Be Me, Sunday Funday, the Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life, and the Center for Adults Living Well — as well as a full array of online activities for people of all ages. If you haven’t already, I suggest you check it out at http://ywashhts.org/at-home and share it with your friends and family. There’s something there for everyone.

This situation has shown us what we already knew — our staff’s commitment to the community is second-to-none! We are very grateful for our teams who continued coming to the Y and Wien House to provide essential in-person services and everyone who has worked from home.

We invite you to stay connected with the Y and the community, while we all do our part to flatten the curve and help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 by staying home. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The Y is more committed than ever to being a source of hope for our community, and we are here to support you. If you need guidance or assistance, please email vneznansky@ywashhts.org.

As this crisis continues, we need additional resources — so we can continue to provide critical services to isolated seniors; Passover meals to those in need; a vibrant menu of online programs and events; and entitlement, mental health, and financial support to members of our community. If you are able to help our efforts, please donate now.

We will get through this and come together to celebrate soon. Thank you for your continuous support.

Stay healthy and safe,
Martin G. Englisher
Chief Executive Officer

Victoria Neznansky
Chief Development and
Social Services Officer

Michael Fermaglich
Chief Operating Officer

Martin Yafe
Chief Program Officer

P.S. Difficult times require tremendous efforts. If you have the capacity to give, this is the moment. Please consider making a donation to ensure that we can continue to serve our Y family during the days ahead. Click here to make a gift now.

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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