MERCY, when the world needs it most
We're now seven weeks into New York State on PAUSE. Our biggest concern remains for Mercy Center to be able to continue providing much-needed classes and services. Our participants are truly among the most vulnerable, living in very cramped apartments, sometimes multiple families in one or two bedroom apartments, working in the service industries on the front lines where they are most exposed. This is why we're doing everything we can not only to continue our core services, but also to serve in new ways as opportunities arise.

There is a powerful sense that many hands are supporting us during this time. As you'll read below, new connections are being made, allowing us to funnel resources directly to our participants in need. We've also heard from many longtime supporters as well. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support.

Thank you for helping us to provide mercy, when the world needs it most.

Be safe,
Executive Director
Our program staff is doing a great job of continuing to operate our programs and services online and via telephone.
Social Services & Community Education
  • Thanks to staff outreach, more participants have been contacting the Director of Social Services to discuss needs and resources. Issues include SNAP (food stamps), securing food, and unemployment insurance.
  • We continue to receive meals from Tacombi Community Kitchen. We also receive 600 meals a week from World Central Kitchen for Mercy Center's families.

Adult Education & Workforce Development
  • Our Zoom Pro license allows 8 classes to be held at the same time. We've provided professional development for teachers, as needed.
  • Over 500 ESOL students took their exams using Google Forms.
  • We continue to call all students and document their experiences for DYCD. Regular contact also allows us to identify students' needs, and referrals are made to our Director of Social Services and our Manager of Youth Programs, as needed.

Immigrant Services
  • The Director of Immigrant Services was instrumental in helping to secure gift cards for Mercy Center families from New York Immigrant Coalition.
  • The department has already met all of its contractual goals for the funding period, despite the pandemic.
Youth Programs
  • Robotics sessions with Bricks 4 Kidz are now held twice a week. The students are quickly learning how to code and create their own video game, which will soon be ready to be played online.
  • Youth programs staff continue one-on-one tutoring, classroom hangouts, game sessions, virtual birthday parties, and general contact with the children. We have added arts & crafts projects on the weekends.
  • One-on-one tutoring is being extended to the children of participants in our Adult Ed classes, as needed.

Familia Adelante/Family Forward
  • Family workers continue to maintain contact with families and assist with access to resources to address issues.
Personal Development
  • Several participants in our Knitting Circle have been making masks at home and distributing them free in the local community and beyond.
  • Our Chair Yoga and Zumba classes are offered online by our volunteer partners, Health Advocates for Older People and the Hispanic Federation.
We are grateful for additional funding we have received during this crisis.
  • Pascale Sykes Foundation: $40,000 in COVID-19 funding
  • Hispanic Federation: $20,000 in COVID-19 funding
  • New York Immigration Coalition: $500 gift cards for 110 Mercy Center families in need
  • House of the Roses: $4,424 raised in direct support of Mercy Center families in need. Twenty of our Youth families will be receiving $200 Visa gift cards from the proceeds.
  • Catholic Charities: Ten $500 gift cards for Mercy Center families in need
  • Mercy Center's Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan request was approved!
Gaeleen Quinn, founder of Q&A Hospitality consulting and the Bogota Food & Wine Festival, has organized the Ask Chefs Anything online auction as a way to give back to the immigrant workforce crucial to the restaurant industry. This unique event which continues through May 3 is auctioning off 30 minute Zoom calls with world-renowned chefs and industry notables such as Eric Ripert, Christina Tosi, and many others. The funds raised will provide groceries for 250 Mercy Center families.

You can also read about it in this Time Out New York article , in which Mercy Center's Associate Executive Director, Paula Sarro, is quoted.
We will launch our annual spring appeal early next week. In this uncertain time of crisis, this year's appeal is more vital than ever. But we're fortunate to have a challenge matching gift of $30,000 from an anonymous donor in honor of our 30th anniversary and a $10,000 pledge from another donor. We're grateful for the heartfelt and generous response from all of our supporters.
We will get through this together