New York’s Irish community stepped up in a huge way to help displaced workers and families during the COVID-19 crisis, with the fundraising group Sláinte 2020 raising more than $500,000 since April and assisting close to 600 applicants with their financial needs.

Details of Sláinte 2020’s vital work to date were provided to the Irish Voice this week, and indicate that the group not only given financial assistance but also helped those out of work seek new employment.

The 600 processed applications include roughly 1,000 beneficiaries, 150 of who are aged under 18.  The application period closed on June 30, but Sláinte 2020 is still accepting funds until the end of July to deal with outstanding requests. 

The positive impact Sláinte 2020 had on the lives of suddenly unemployed Irish – many undocumented – was deeply appreciated.  Checks issued by the group were used by recipients for basic needs like rent and food.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart and my two kids, you have brought me hope. I felt so alone and feel so far away from my family… this has helped me immensely. You have not only helped but you have made me feel that we are not alone. From a very emotional Kildare mammy, overwhelmed with gratitude,” was one testimonial provided to Sláinte 2020.

Noreen Sherry was the winner of a Sláinte 2020 raffle of two tickets to Ireland which were donated by Aer Lingus.  Another fundraising raffle is ongoing, with the prize of two tickets to next year’s 2021 All-Ireland football championship donated by the GAA.  The deadline for entry is July 31; click here  for details.

“Huge thanks to the support Sláinte received from the wider community. Following the completion of the program, there will be a full progress report on all aspects of Sláinte and how it impacted the community. Even though applications have closed, the Aisling Irish Community Center, the New York Irish Center and Emerald Isle are continuing to provide services to their local communities so please reach out if anyone in need of assistance,” a statement from Sláinte 2020 said.

The group says it is hopeful that the Irish community’s employment prospects will improve when indoor dining returns to Manhattan.  Another anticipated event is the resumption of the New York GAA, which is aiming to return to the field sometime in July.

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