Schenectady

Local aid efforts take shape as coronavirus layoffs mount; Schenectady Foundation activates disaster fund

Restaurant industry reeling from shutdowns
A sign announcing a change in operating hours is posted at Uncommon Grounds on Broadway in Saratoga Springs on March 16.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A sign announcing a change in operating hours is posted at Uncommon Grounds on Broadway in Saratoga Springs on March 16.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — Amid swift mass layoffs as a result of the mounting coronavirus pandemic, relief efforts are emerging. 

The Schenectady Foundation has reactivated a fund initially designed to aid disaster victims.

A $100,000 grant to the Rebuilding Families Fund will immediately begin supporting non-profits and individual community members, the organization announced on Sunday. 

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The charitable foundation will match all donations up to $25,000.

“Our initial focus is to set up a system to deliver food and supplies to families and to people who have been quarantined,” said Robert Carreau, executive director, in a statement.

The non-profit will work with Schenectady County Action Program (SCAP)  and the Community Crisis Network to offer direct assistance and guidance.

The fund was first launched in 2011 to aid in recovery efforts following Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, and was reactivated four years later to aid victims of the Jay Street fire.

Other members of the coalition working with county government to coordinate services include the City Mission of Schenectady, Schenectady Boys & Girls Club, YWCA, Bethesda House, Schenectady Community Ministries, Proctors, Regional Food Bank of Northeaster New York and Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority. 

Schenectady Foundation has also committed $20,000 to the Capital Region COVID-19
Response Fund, managed by the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, and is collaborating with other contributors and foundations on response strategy. 

To donate, visit schenectadyfoundation.org

‘TIP YOUR BARTENDER’

More than 200 laid-off Capital Region-area chefs, bartenders and baristas have uploaded profiles to a new crowdfunding website, “Tip Your Bartender. Online,” designed to offer temporarily financial relief. 

Patrons can make payments to workers starting at $5 through PayPal and Venmo. 

Donors then become eligible raffle for gift cards donated by local restaurants.

So far, sponsors have kicked in roughly $6,000, including Noble Gas Solutions of Albany.

“Our entire community revolves around going out to eat,” said Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell, one of the project’s creators. “These people need our help.”

Other people behind the effort include Dominick Purnomo, Jessica Sheridan, Heidi Knoblauch and Relentless Awareness, an Albany-based public relations firm.

Buell was clear-eyed about the challenges facing the restaurant industry, which can only provide take-out and delivery as a result of new state directives that took effect last Monday.


“By no means do we think this is a solution,” Buell said. “We’re just trying to take the middle ground and help people out where we can.”

To donate, visit tipyourbartender.online.

Nationwide, restaurant industry leaders are organizing a campaign called “The Great American Take-Out,” a measure designed to encourage people to support their local eateries by ordering food on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the Capital Region, an initiative led by a group of Capital Region business owners and officials called “Feed Albany” has partnered with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple Sr. to provide unemployed service workers with food items, in addition to supporting delivery functions.

Beginning Monday, 1,000 prepared meals will be produced, packaged, and distributed to unemployed workers, at-risk individuals and in-need people throughout Albany County, according to the initiative.

For information about meal sites and details, visit feedalbany.com.

Reach staff writer Pete DeMola at 518-395-3113, [email protected] or @pmdemola on Twitter.

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