Jean Shafiroff encourages all of us to support local food banks, animal shelters & more during COVID-19
As COVID-19 spreads around the globe with startling rapidity, private and public philanthropists are stepping up their support for nonprofits working to address the immediate needs of vulnerable people and populations.
In the coming weeks and months, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to address the COVID-19 crisis. We have already mentioned how companies from across the country are doing their part in last week’s Column.
Pandemics, like any disaster, strain individual, family, community and societal resources. We know COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for people who are older or have serious underlying medical conditions, but young and relatively healthy people are also vulnerable to infection and transmission.
People in high-exposure jobs and those without sick leave, health insurance, savings, secure housing, affordable child care, social supports or other kinds of safety nets now face a variety of serious challenges.
With unemployment claims reaching an all-time high and food banks unable to properly function around the country, a very high-profile and respected philanthropist is urging all of us that can donate or volunteer to join the fight against hunger amid the coronavirus crisis.
As member of the Southampton Hospital Association Board, the hospital set up a COVID-19 Heroes fund to raise money for hospital equipment such as ventilators. Mrs. Jean Shafiroff has been helpful and generous with fundraising for this important fund and has been impressed with the amount of donations and people willing to help.
“We have to protect the employees, the doctors and nurses across the country and cannot put their health in jeopardy,” says Shafiroff. “We have 23 million people out of work and one of the top food banks in the country, Feeding America is doing their best as we are see a mass increase of people waiting in line for meals.”
Jean continues to say, “no matter whether your donation is $5 or $1,00 or $1,000, whatever you can give it’s so appreciated,” says Shafiroff, who is also the author of a book on charitable giving. “Never think that even the smallest of gifts are not appreciated.”
Another charity that Shafiroff strongly supports is the New York Women’s Foundation and they have responded to COVID-19 by setting up a COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund.
The Foundation is inviting current and former grantee partners to apply for a six month grant for up to $25,000 in general operating support or program-specific support (if the applicant does work beyond New York City). The Foundation is prioritizing organizations with budgets of $2 million or less.
As a lover and major supporter of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, she is happy to report that the shelter is able to have drive thru adoptions “dogs are still in need of homes and rest assured that they are getting treated well at the shelter during this difficult time.”
While there are guidelines for us to stay home, “if someone wants to volunteer in a physical capacity, please check with each individual food bank, while there is still a great need, we all have to be safe.”
For her part, she says she’s giving her local food pantry, Heart of the Hamptons $2,000 a week for the next 10 weeks in addition to donations to an animal shelter’s pet food pantry and other nonprofits.
“I can’t think of anything worse than a family not being able to put food on the table, we must do our best to help these great organizations to make sure that no one continues to go hungry.”
The silver-lining through all of this is that Shafiroff realizes, “that my family is all together and our rescue dogs under one roof and there is a bonding element. We are all being respectful and caring of one another. While we are able to spend time together, it’s also a time to show compassion to those who may be living alone, those who don’t have access to food and just continue to show compassion towards everyone. Now is the time to come together and show love,” says Shafiroff.