NEW YORK – More than 2,500 people came together to support the Orthodox Union’s (OU) Yachad, the leading organization for individuals with disabilities, in a late 2020 campaign to raise much-needed funds to increase services, programs and scholarships for individuals with disabilities. The group raised a grand total of $1,614,239 within the 36-hour campaign.
The funds will go toward increasing daily virtual programming on Yachad on Demand, the group’s virtual platform; expanding clinical support services to families, including parent groups, sibling support for multiple age groups and “wellness check-ins” to Yachad participants; and increasing home delivery packages for individuals with disabilities isolating at home. Funds will also go towards providing access to digital devices for those who need them in order to connect to Yachad’s virtual programs; necessary support services to IVDU Schools students to facilitate their adjustment to virtual or hybrid educational models; and to scholarships for Yachad Summer Programs.
“As a result of COVID-19, many of our in-person programs and fundraisers were cancelled in order to protect the physical safety our members, supporters and friends,” said Yachad Associate Director Ken Saibel. “The secondary result, unfortunately, was that many of our members felt more isolated than ever and our services became all the more important to them and their families. We’re thrilled that our community came together in such a strong showing of support to ensure that none of our most vulnerable community members are left behind.”
“Yachad is a cornerstone program of the OU and plays a critical role in Jewish communities across the country by providing programming, services and Torah education to participants and their families. We are grateful that the community rallied around them to make sure that we can continue programming that is so important to Yachad members and their families,” said OU President Moishe Bane.
“From the moment physical programming shut down in March, Yachad’s team has been finding innovative ways to continue to provide safe services to their members, and it’s humbling to see the community support their efforts in such a robust fashion,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.