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OpinionEditorial

Lend a hand to those in need

The storm is coming.

That’s what Ayesha Alleyne, executive director of Wyandanch Homes and Property Development Corporation in Deer Park, worries about as she looks at the many individuals who are on the edge of a potential housing crisis.

Wyandanch Homes helps families who are homeless or at immediate risk of becoming homeless. The organization owns 27 homes in Wyandanch and North Babylon. But beyond housing those families, it also provides services for them in education and mental health, and tries to fill other needs, from coats to computers.

Alleyne expects those needs will increase considerably heading into next year. One sign: Requests for assistance numbered 15 in the first quarter, and 80 barely halfway through the fourth quarter.

That’s just one reason Newsday Charities’ annual Help-A-Family effort is more important now than ever.

We all can help.

Every year, Help-A-Family becomes a critical piece of the puzzle for organizations like Wyandanch Homes that depend on the generosity of fellow Long Islanders. Earlier this year, Newsday Charities gave $115,000 to eight institutions. And those efforts now are ramping up. Another 17 agencies are seeking support and Newsday Charities expects to fund about $600,000 in additional grants in December.

Every dollar donated to Help-A-Family goes to the local organizations, since Newsday pays 100% of administrative costs.

The problems our communities face seem monumental and, at times, unsolvable. But the organizations assisted by Newsday Charities continue to tackle everything from homelessness and food insecurity to child abuse and education.

The pandemic has made the work these agencies do both more important and more difficult. For EAC Network in Hempstead, challenging work became more challenging, from assisting isolated seniors and tackling child abuse to helping parents navigate parenthood and addressing a rise in substance abuse and mental health needs.

But now, as people have begun to come back together in-person, new challenges loom, according to EAC president and chief executive Neela Mukherjee Lockel, EAC Network’s president and chief executive. As doors open, the reporting of child abuse concerns is on the rise and EAC Network’s Child Advocacy Center is there to work with children in the most terrifying of situations. The need for job training, Meals on Wheels and other EAC Network programs remains high as well. Among the efforts EAC Network heads, which Newsday Charities supports, is the Long Island Parenting Institute, which provides critical resources, programs and support to parents across the region.

Lockel asks a question each of us must ponder: "How do we as a community build a safety net to protect the people who are going to be needing it?"

One answer is right here, right now: We must recognize that many of our neighbors need us. And together, if we give as much as we can, we can help.

To learn more, or to donate, please go to newsdaycharities.org or call 631-843-3056. Thank you.

MEMBERS OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD are experienced journalists who offer reasoned opinions, based on facts, to encourage informed debate about the issues facing our community.

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