As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our region, SEFCU’s Community Support program launched an application for emergency funds to help non-profits that would be serving increased needs in the community. In adhering to SEFCU’s Giving Guidelines, funds were allocated to support the quickly multiplying numbers of individuals, youth, and families as they began to serve more and more people became financially strapped due to being out of work.
The first round of grants made under the SEFCU Hunger Support Package totaled $80,000. These funds were given to meet the immediate needs of several non-profit organizations throughout our geographic footprint to help them adapt to new guidelines of social distancing quickly and be able to feed the increased amounts of individuals turning to them for support.
The SEFCU Foundation, through Giving for Good dollars, has supplied more than $6,000 in emergency supplies. Essential items such as formula, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items were donated to our non-profit partners who are serving our community.
SEFCU supplied 2,250+ N95 masks to hospitals and healthcare workers who desperately needed personal protective equipment. Our President & CEO Michael Castellana conceptualized what is now "Heroes Landing", a fully operational respite center to support our healthcare heroes at Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital who are on the frontlines taking care of those in our community who are battling COVID-19. The SEFCU Foundation purchased and supplied personal care packages to be available to all healthcare workers visiting Heroes Landing. SEFCU Executives assembled and delivered the first 1,000 kits to Heroes Landing. SEFCU volunteers have supported Heroes Landing by covering shifts around the clock to welcome and screen our heroes as they seek respite. Through Easter Sunday, April 12, our 24/7 coverage has resulted in 498 volunteer hours from 81 individuals covering 48 shifts. Click here watch a video on Heroes Landing and understand its impact.
We are also Farming with a Purpose to meet the needs of those hungry. 100 percent of the produce from the SEFCU Freight Farm has gone to food pantries and meal sites in our community – since March, we have donated more than 3,200 heads of lettuce and herbs to our non-profit partners to support feeding our community.
Understanding that more people will be homeless due to this pandemic, in partnership with Compassion Coalition in Utica, 1,750 pair of socks were distributed to homeless shelters throughout our community.
SEFCU wants you to join us. As such, we have established a Text-to-Donate campaign to allow individuals to donate to the SEFCU Foundation to support our work. And in just a few days, $500 has been raised.
Our work is not done. SEFCU will continue to respond to the needs and do our best to lead, collaborate, and strategize as we tackle the issues and challenges that COVID-19 brings.