As we welcome spring this year, we are optimistic and hopeful that life will return to normal in the not-so-distant future. Until then, there is still much uncertainty, especially for the most vulnerable amongst us and the families of “I Nostri Bambini.” The Italian Welfare League has been working hard to help these families throughout the pandemic. Without your support, this would not have been possible.
COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges and the Italian Welfare League stepped up and developed an emergency assistance program that helped families who lost income due to the virus. Among those impacted are many parents who lost their jobs or were compelled to leave their jobs due to childcare issues for their special needs children. The League donated approximately $27,000 in gift cards to more than 50 families during the pandemic to help them purchase groceries and essential items, funded in part with a generous grant from the Francesco & Mary Giambelli Foundation.
In addition, the Italian Welfare League assisted another 185 children either individually or through our annual grants to special needs organizations. Among those recipients was a young boy with Cloves Syndrome, a rare lymphatic condition. Swimming helps clear the lymphatic system, so the League donated $3,000 for swim therapy sessions. When a family in the Bronx was forced to declare bankruptcy, the League donated $5,000 to supplement partial scholarships for the two brothers’ tuition. The League purchased a $6,750 new wheelchair for a young girl with spinal muscular atrophy. The wheelchair provides the young girl much greater freedom to be outside with her friends. The League provided financial assistance to a 3-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and global brain injury who was thrilled to receive an adaptive tricycle. Sadly, some of these children are from single-parent families or have parents with a disabled spouse; these parents are also caring for other children while tending to their special needs child.
These are just a few examples of how your contributions allow the League to respond to the needs of the Italian American community. As we approach the Easter holiday, we hope you will consider supporting the League’s ongoing mission to improve the lives of our bambini. On behalf of the Board, I am grateful for your continued generosity and send you our heartfelt thanks. From our famiglia to yours, auguri di Buona Pasqua!