Dear Friends of Family,
As we begin our next 50 years (2020 was Family’s 50th anniversary), we’re facing challenges that would have been unimaginable just twelve short months ago.
In this letter, I’d like to tell you about the unique crisis we’re facing, how we’re meeting it and how you can help.
I’d also like to use the occasion of Family’s 50th to bring you up- to-date on all that Family is currently doing in 2020.
Long Story Short
In 2020, demand for Family’s services – food, shelter, crisis intervention, childcare and more – has skyrocketed.
For example, calls to our 24-hour crisis hotline were up nearly 40%.
Yet no one seeking food, clothing, shelter, or a compassionate ear was turned away.
All our shelter and residential programs remained open and we started new services that provided thousands of meals in Kingston and Saugerties. Our staff and volunteers have performed miracles.
But at the same time that people’s need for help increased, our operating expenses have gone up to address the Covid-19 crisis.
To make matters worse, income we depend on – from live fundraising events and from local government support – is down.
What about 2021? That’s where you come in…
A Call For Help
Every hour of every day, every day of the year, for the past 50 years, Family has had trained and compassionate people sitting by the phone ready to answer calls for help.
It could be a young mother looking for food for her children…
It could be a teenager, cold and hungry, with no place to sleep and no safe home to go back to…
It could be a man who’s lost all hope and is seriously considering taking his own life…
The number is 845-679-2485 and seven days a week, 24 hours a day for 50 years it’s been answered. Now we have expanded to respond to texts and have started a Spanish hotline.
It is a service open to ALL regardless of background and no problem is too big or too small. Please keep our number handy. You never know when someone is going to need it.
Food and Warm Clothing…
As even the most fortunate of us know, emergencies and misfortunes don’t come on a schedule or at convenient times.
That’s why, in addition to the 24-hour hotline, Family maintains a network of three walk-in centers throughout the region (Woodstock, New Paltz, Ellenville) where people can get the food and clothing they need when they need it, no questions asked.
In response to the growing need and with our partners in the Farm to Food Pantry Collaborative, we’ve set up five regional food hubs to not only keep Family’s food pantries full, but also make us a reliable source of food for dozens of pantries and other helping groups throughout the region. We also operate a major food program for youth throughout Kingston.
Thanks to donors like you and corporate and local farm partners, this program distributed over 135,000 pounds of food and served over 36,000 prepared meals in 2019 alone.
As of 2019, estimates are that 177,573 people live in Ulster County. As more people move into the area, demand for housing has increased dramatically along with rents and real estate prices.
Family maintains four special purpose shelters and two residential programs serving: survivors of domestic abuse and their children; homeless families: runaway and homeless youth; people in emergency situations, and homeless youth aged 16-21 who, without family support, are learning to become independent and self-sustaining.
These are the only emergency shelters in the county.
Lasting, Long-term Solutions To Human Problems
Nourishing food, clothing, a safe place to live…these are the foundation upon which Family’s help is built.
Ultimately, Family’s goal is to: “Help people help themselves.”
Much of our efforts are focused on the prevention of problems and helping people who find themselves having difficulty develop lasting long term solutions that fit their lives.
After 50 years of evolution, it would literally take a book to list and fully describe all of Family’s programs.
Here’s a short list of populations we’ve developed specific services for over the years:
Homeless individuals, young and old…victims of domestic violence… individuals with mental health issues and substance abuse problems… families in need of safe child care…the formerly incarcerated… young people in danger of the school-to-prison pipeline.
All This and Green Energy Savings Too
Between our three walk-in centers and food pantries, our six residences, our administrative offices in Kingston and all the other things we do, Family generates 20 different electric bills.
In early 2021, we’ll be announcing the details of a project that will cut our annual electric bill by over 75% and reduce our environmental footprint by going solar.
Getting these savings will require a significant investment in infrastructure (solar panels). It’s not only a great investment for Family’s long-term future, but the right thing to do.
If you’re interested in learning more about this project and how you can help, please let us know.
Three Big Ways You Can Help Family This Year
In 2020 everyone was inconvenienced. Many have been devastated.
I know that some people receiving this letter this year are in need of help themselves, and I want you to know that we are here for you JUST AS YOU HAVE BEEN THERE FOR US. Call us.
If you’re in a position to help, here’s some of the ways you can contribute:
Volunteer. Volunteers are always needed and welcome. Whatever skill you have – or would like to learn – we can use your help. Our community of 300+ volunteers, working alongside our paid staff, helps us reach more people who need help and make many otherwise impossible tasks possible.
Keep going. If you’re able to maintain your previous level of giving, this would be a tremendous help this year. Frankly, we can’t afford to “lose” any supporters right now.
Do more. If you’re re able to stretch this year and do more than you’ve ever done before, now is the time.
Family Needs You Now More Than Ever
The most vulnerable in our community have been hit very hard this year and as challenging as 2020 has been, I’m afraid 2021 will be even more difficult.
Jobs that are not coming back, evictions, families forced to make the choice between food and warm clothes for their children…these are realities in our community today.
In a sense, we’ve spent the last fifty years preparing for this: building the team, understanding and earning the trust of the community, developing partnerships with local governments and foundations.
If you’d like your giving to have the biggest possible positive impact on the community, Family, with all we do, is one of the best ways to accomplish that.
As always, thank you for all your help and support. Together we’re making a difference in the lives of thousands of our neighbors.
Hayes Clement and Michael Berg
President Executive Director
If you want to request a physical donation card, or want to contribute by phone, you can call our administrative office at 845-331-7080. Otherwise, you can click the link below for more ways to donate.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE