Video: Community Issues Forum

Community Action and Advocacy Around Homelessness and Food Insecurity in the Current Environment

Monday, April 20, 2020 • 7:00 p.m.

Featuring panelists:

  • Manhattan Borough President – Gale Brewer
  • New York City Councilman – Ben Kallos
  • New York State Senator – Liz Krueger
  • Win Vice President of Policy and Planning – Jessica Yager

Panel discussion moderated by NYJL President Lauren Chung

Expanding access to Regional Enrichment Centers to students who are homeless

Amid the COVID-19 situation, the New York Junior League is still identifying ways to serve our community. As New York City schools adjust to the new normal, educators settle into remote teaching, and students grapple with a new, ad hoc way of learning, more than 100,000 students who are homeless might not have the same opportunities to learn.

This week, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) opened up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) to provide safe child care to students whose parents are first responders, health care workers, and key transit employees. Yesterday, the mayor added the children of grocery store and pharmacy workers to the list of children eligible to enroll in a REC.

However, the 114,000 children experiencing the daily trauma of housing instability are not eligible to enroll. The NYJL signed on to a letter, organized by Advocates for Children, urging the mayor and the DOE chancellor to open these enrollment centers to students who are homeless, so they may have access to reliable technology for remote learning and the space to focus on their lessons, with the help of a volunteer DOE educator. The letter also requests that the the DOE expand enrollment eligibility to the children of shelter workers.

Read the letter here, and follow NYJL on Twitter for more advocacy updates.

 

 

NYJL Updates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please check this page often for more updates. Last updated May 6, 2020.

During this time of crisis, the health and safety of the staff, members, and partners of the NYJL community are our highest priorities. Although we are making adjustments in real time as the COVID-19 situation evolves, we remain steadfast in our commitment to women and children in New York City, community partners, and our strong, passionate women volunteers.

We continue to monitor and follow the public health recommendations of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the directives of local and federal government officials.

Please check this web page, or NYJL’s InstagramFacebook, or Twitter for the latest updates.


NYJL Events and Meetings

Through May, all in-person events are cancelled, postponed, or moving online to a video platform.  

  • Fundraising events: Please visit our Events page for more information on the status of each fundraising event.
  • New membership orientations: We will continue to host new membership orientations through Zoom. Please check our new membership information page for upcoming dates.


How the NYJL continues to serve the community and partners on the front lines

Despite pausing our regular community committee work, the NYJL continues to stay in regular contact with partners, city agencies, and elected officials regarding live and remote needs. NYJL’s community committees recently provided critical, immediately needed supplies to partners, including:

  • Gloves and masks for Urban Outreach food pantry.
  • Masks and basic cell phones to the youth of Avenues for Justice courtesy of the Steps to Success committee.
  • The Rights of Passage committee donated critical supplies to their partner Covenant House, including basic clothing, toiletries, and linens for the youth in the crisis shelter.
  • CHEF donated nearly 100 healthy, individually packaged snacks to Covenant House.
  • Senior Friends continue to write cards to the residents and staff at The New Jewish Home. If you would like to participate, contact community@nyjl.org.


Community support and volunteer opportunities

NYJL-sanctioned and direct community programs opportunities remain suspended, but there are several ways you can continue to serve our community. If you choose to volunteer in-person outside of the NYJL, please observe NYC’s recommended safety guidelines as well as CDC guidelines on physical distancing.

Thank you to the many NYJL volunteers who have participated in supporting our partners! 

Critical Supply Donations to Partners

With the city practicing social distancing, many of our partners need activities and supplies to help clients, particularly children who are homeless and confined to temporary living spaces, through this difficult time. If you would like to support our partners, here are several community partners’ lists of supplies needed. You may purchase and send items directly to the following organizations:

  • Win – Needs activities for children living in homeless shelters.
  • Isaacs Center – Needs school supplies for students.
  • The New Jewish Home – Needs activities for senior residents.
  • Covenant House – Needs snacks and activities for youth in the crisis shelter.
  • Department of Homeless Services – Needs toys and activities for children in shelter. Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.
  • SCAN-Harbor – Accepting food donations (both non-perishable and perishable). Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.

Help feed our heroes 

Our Crisis Intervention partner, NY Presbyterian, and others could use your support feeding frontline workers treating patients with COVID-19. Donate meals via our friends at Butterfield Market’s Feed Our Heroes fund, The Pixie and the Scout gift certificates for health heroes, or send pizzas via our Savor the Spring & PIP restaurant partner, Sauce.

Complete the 2020 Census!

The 2020 Census takes less than 10 minutes, but its impact will last 10 years! The federal government uses the census to determine NYC’s fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds for public education, affordable housing, infrastructure and much more. The Census also informs how many seats NY gets in the House of Representatives. 

Please contact community@nyjl.org and let us know if there are any organizations seeking volunteers for small group activities, virtual support, and/or supplies.

Together, we will get through this!

The NYJL will revitalize St. Nicholas Park during April and May 2020!

DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, SPRING 2020 PARK DAYS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN VOLUNTEERING WITH THE NYJL’S PLAYGROUND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. STAY SAFE.

The New York Junior League’s Playground Improvement Project (PIP) is excited to announce that this spring, they will revitalize St. Nicholas Park in Harlem, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation!

Every year since 1992, New York Junior League (NYJL) volunteers, as part of the Playground Improvement Project, have designed, planned, funded, and completed a playground or park renovation. Initially focused on local school playgrounds, the NYJL eventually forged a partnership with the NYC Parks Department to revitalize public parks. Many Manhattan parks lack funding or staff to make general improvements to gardens, benches, and playground equipment. The NYJL helps meet these needs by contributing supplies and dedicated volunteer time.

A “ribbon park” bordering Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, and Harlem, St. Nicholas Park was created in 1895 when the City acquired the land after the close of the Croton Aqueduct. The patron saint of Amsterdam, St. Nicholas contributes his name to two of the park’s surrounding streets, commemorating the Dutch farmers who settled northern Manhattan in the late seventeenth century.

Now, St. Nicholas Park brings together Harlem neighbors for festivals and other community events. It features basketball and handball courts, playgrounds, a dog park, and barbecue areas. Operated by the National Parks Service, Alexander Hamilton’s historic home also resides in the park. Residents visit the park to host neighborhood gatherings and barbecues, play catch, observe park activities from park benches, read, and exercise in the park.

In 1995, Harlem community members and City College formed the initiative”Take Back St. Nicholas Park” and renovated the park. In 2010, the New York Junior League beautified the park and is excited to return for another round of renovations this spring.

The NYJL invites volunteers from the public to help restore St. Nicholas Park during specific weekends in April and May!

If you have questions, please contact playground@nyjl.org for more details.

Urgent: Help us collect more holiday gifts for children in homeless shelters by December 23

More than 22,000 children in New York City are homeless this holiday season.

Every year, NYC’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the Coalition for the Homeless, and other organizations mobilize a massive drive to collect and deliver gifts to every single child living in a shelter or hotel over the holidays.

To make sure every child receives a gift, the NYJL is partnering with the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to help collect 50 urgently needed toys by close of business on Monday, December 23. New toys should be delivered directly to Astor House (130 E 80th St, New York, NY 10075) between now and Monday. The DHS administrator will personally pick up gifts and deliver them to children on Christmas Eve.

  • We need new toys for children under the age of 10, such as toddler toys, dolls, cars, trucks, and board games.
  • Please wrap the toy (if possible) and label it with a description of the toy, the age, and whether it’s for a boy or girl.
  • Toys may be delivered to Astor House today (Thursday) until 10:00 p.m., tomorrow (Friday) until 6:00 p.m., and Monday, December 23, until 5:00 p.m.
  • The DHS administrator will pick up the gifts in the morning on December 24.

If you are unable to hand deliver wrapped gifts to Astor House by December 23, Mary Arnold Toy Store near headquarters is happy to take toy orders and deliver them to Astor House for free. You may contact the store directly at 212-744-8510. You can view their inventory on their website.

Thank you for your generosity this holiday season!