The world has certainly changed over the past few weeks. When I began composing this letter last month, I planned to tell you what the agency accomplished in the last year. 2020 is the agency’s 50th anniversary and I had intended to invite you to a Gala being planned, as well a concert that would acknowledge the agency’s origins on the heels of Woodstock ’69. Now that all seems very distant.
Instead, we find ourselves on the front lines of our community’s COVID 19 response. I wanted to share with you what that looks like from our viewpoint.
● As our neighbors experience the anxiety and isolation many of us are feeling right now, our 24-hour hotline has expanded to respond to the increased number of calls seeking information, resources and comforting words. As you can imagine, people already struggling with mental health issues and financial hardships are more reliant than ever on our hotline. In order to keep staff safe, we have developed technology and procedures to respond to calls off-site. We are working to make our services more accessible by starting a Spanish-speaking hotline.
● Food insecurity in our community has worsened during this pandemic. Family, as always, is a key partner in providing food to families and to food pantries around the county. The agency has also expanded its food program at the Everette Hodge Community Center in Midtown Kingston where we are currently producing 3,000 dinners per week.
● Keeping both staff and residents safe in our shelters is a crucial challenge. We are working hard to keep up with this task and keep our shelters– for teens, families, individuals and those seeking safety from family violence– open and welcoming.
● Essential workers need child care they can rely on while they are taking care of others. Our Child Care Resource and Referral Service has undertaken a huge initiative to locate and pay for child care for these workers and to support child care programs to remain open.
● We are also collaborating with the United Way of Ulster County and Radio Kingston to provide emergency funds to many of our neighbors.
In times of crisis, our community has always stepped up and taken care of one another. The need is especially urgent now. We cannot say enough about the skill and compassion of our incredible staff and volunteers. As with many of our fellow agencies, Family is struggling to respond to the community’s needs with only very limited resources. We welcome your generous response to this appeal so that we may continue the essential services we are providing. I realize that the current situation may be hampering your own ability to give, and if you need help, please call us. If you are able to help, now is a critical time. We’ve made it easier to contribute to Family. Please visit www.familyofwoodstockinc.org/donate to give online and for other donation options.
While the focus of this letter has changed, I still want you to be aware of the remarkable amount of service the agency provided last year. Click here to view our 2020 Summary of Services.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers of Family of Woodstock, Inc., I hope that you and your family remain safe and secure throughout these difficult times. We look forward to celebrating Family’s 50th Anniversary with you next year, as a 50 year retrospective of all of the important work that we have done together in our community.