The situation around COVID-19 is changing so rapidly. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. These are unprecedented times. And your support is needed more than ever.
All 32 of our Goodwill stores in the New York City metropolitan region, including the 10 Northern NJ Counties, have temporarily closed for 2 weeks due to the executive orders from the NY and NJ Governors. The closure has left us without critical funding to operate our programs removing barriers to employment for the most vulnerable residents of our communities and to help them to prepare for jobs.
These are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like autism, or people with severe mental health conditions, many of them have never had a job before. And people who are applying for or receiving public assistance, many of them single parents living in shelters with their children.
The crisis has made our clients’ lives more challenging than ever.
To meet this grave challenge, we have kept 90% of our programs open with staff working remotely using services like tele-health. We are helping people find jobs that have diminished greatly in this difficult economy. At the same time, our staff is quickly responding to the crisis by placing job-seekers in sectors that urgently need workers right now. We are also on the front lines of the crisis providing our very vulnerable program participants with information on emergency food, medicine, health care and housing, sick pay information, and conducting individual therapy sessions and medication management over the phone.
We are continuing to be on the front lines, but our expenses are exorbitant.
While our stores have closed temporarily, Goodwill NYNJ is committed to compensating our store employees over this 2-week period – at a cost of nearly $1M. This is in addition to the overhead and rent on 32 stores. To afford to operate our programs, the salaries of the executive and administrative teams have been reduced – but unfortunately, this only covers a portion of our expenses.
Many people have asked what they can do to support us in this time of great need. In response, we have set up the COVID-19 Goodwill Crisis Fund. The goal is to raise $250,000 in critically-important dollars.
These funds would help cover such costs as our retail staff’s weekly paychecks and help buy equipment for tele-health services and to assist staff in working remotely. If you can help, we would greatly appreciate a gift of any size.