Pushed to the Brink: What Families Need Right Now

By Angie Vega, Site Manager, Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative

The last ten months have been incredibly difficult for families and children at the schools we support in NYC. Your donation will help provide relief from food insecurity, financial strain, and more. Please join us by making a gift

Every day, I hear from families in New York City who have been pushed to the brink by this pandemic. I want you to hear about them too.

One family of five used to live in a single room in another family’s apartment. But when COVID hit, they were asked to leave. That would have been difficult enough, but then the father lost his job. Because he is an undocumented immigrant, he didn’t qualify for unemployment or any other benefits. The mother’s salary didn’t pay enough to provide for their essential needs. During one of the most dangerous times in New York City, this family suddenly had nowhere safe to live. They were forced to move into a hotel, and then into a homeless shelter. The anxiety of waiting to get placed in an apartment exacerbated the trauma they had already experienced, and their future health and safety are still uncertain.

A family of six was already struggling financially before the pandemic. Again, the father of the family lost his job when the pandemic hit. It then became even harder to pay their bills or ensure their children would have internet access for remote schooling.

Another family lost everything they had in a fire. On top of existing financial strain, they also needed a new place to live and all their possessions replaced.

These are stories of just some of the families I work with every day as the site manager at schools in the Bronx for the Children’s Health Fund Healthy and Ready to Learn initiative in NYC. Thankfully, with the support of donors like you, we were able to provide each of these families with gift cards, which they used to purchase food, buy essential household items, and pay to keep the lights on and maintain internet access.

But several other families I work with are experiencing threats to their long-term health and safety: food insecurity, homelessness, lost learning, and trauma. Many are living in shelters, and most are in need of food, warm clothing, shoes, and school supplies. 

Here in New York and elsewhere around the country, families who were already the most harmed by social injustices are now stretched beyond their means. They are resilient and do everything they can to provide for their children and to create joy and happiness in their lives. But it’s unacceptable that any child or family should have to experience this level of hardship. Please help parents provide for their children today. Thank you for supporting children.

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