East End Fund for Children
Your gift delivers a lifeline to our most vulnerable children at a time when families need it most.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the lives of East End children. While charitable giving has begun to wane due to “pandemic fatigue,” the situation for local children remains dire leading to increased food and housing insecurity, school absenteeism, and anxiety and mental illness among children. These circumstances are complicated even further by increased domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse within distressed families.
To respond to this ongoing humanitarian crisis, seven East End nonprofit organizations have come together to form the East End Fund for Children. Together, they serve over 3,500 local children, parents, and caregivers each week. Designed to meet the needs of the community’s most vulnerable, the Fund for Children will help coordinate the efforts and build the capacity of the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, the Children’s Museum of the East End, the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, i-Tri, Project MOST, the Retreat and the Southampton Youth Association.
Contrary to the perception of “the Hamptons” as merely a summer retreat for the well-to-do, much of the year-round population is economically and culturally marginalized. These working families form the backbone of our community and they are being buffeted repeatedly: seasonal work is over, utility bills are rising with the cold weather, multiple families are being forced to share the same quarters, and quarantines are compelling people to stay home from work. Of Long Island’s 13 townships, East Hampton, Southampton, and Riverhead (all on the East End) have the highest rates of poverty. And poverty is being exacerbated with unemployment figures of over 15% in Suffolk County. The proportion of immigrants is 10% higher than elsewhere on Long Island and students of color comprise over 50% of the population in East End schools.
The seven organizations were selected because they collectively serve a range of age groups from infants through teenagers from across the five East End Townships. The pandemic has required the organizations to expand their missions and initiate a variety of COVID response efforts:
Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center runs a food pantry for over 700 people, as well as continuing all their thriving programs for after-school, teens, college prep, and a new workforce training program.
Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) operates a food pantry for 75+ families each week, as well as bilingual support groups and educational programs for at-risk children and families.
Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center runs a weekly food pantry for 50 families and has added extra classrooms and staffing to address the increased demand for childcare among essential workers.
i-tri provides a touchpoint for vulnerable families in the community, providing mental, emotional, and physical training for adolescent girls along with other outreach programs such as art therapy and mentoring circles.
Project MOST offers an array of programs for students in Pre-K through Grade 8 including full-day remote learning support, after-school, summer learning, and small group weekend workshops. Program hours are designed to match the hours when families are working.
The Retreat provides comprehensive services, including shelter and counseling to children impacted by violence and abuse, as well as violence prevention education to grades 3-12. It is also assisting non-resident clients with food, transportation, and medication during the pandemic.
Southampton Youth Association provides recreational programming in small, intimate groups and on Zoom that develops their character while maintaining distance and safety. In addition, it is offering scholarships to students for high-quality SAT prep and is providing financial support for families to buy groceries.
By supporting the East End Fund for Children, you will be providing essential food, mental health support, counseling, and educational and recreational programming. Your contribution can provide a lifeline to our most vulnerable children at a time it is most needed. Please make a gift at www.cmee.org/eastendfundforchildren. Thank you for your consideration!