UCEF Distributes $437,000 to Help Families Pay Tuition Bills

On March 13th our community yeshivot closed their doors and the world came to a halt right before our eyes.  COVID-19 swiftly shut down life as we knew it. UCEF, the United Children Education Foundation, continued their hard work to generate as much funding as possible to help parents in our community pay their tuition bills. UCEF pairs vendors with community businesses and if all goes well – those vendors pay a royalty to UCEF.

This past month, UCEF was able to distribute $437,000 to help pay tuition bills for close to 1,800 children (500 more than last year) attending our fourteen community schools. Over the last four years, UCEF has distributed over $1.8 million to help parents pay their tuition bills.

In addition to assisting vendors, UCEF now operates a full-service insurance agency that can help businesses or individuals with health, life, disability, property, and casualty insurance.

Executive director of UCEF, Sammy Esses, commented, “We have to do whatever we can to chip away at the tuition bills. UCEF gives every individual a chance to help. We also would like to thank all our vendors, wholesalers, retailers, and individuals that have worked together over these last few years. We are helping businesses grow while generating charity – it’s an amazing feeling.”

If you have any comments or questions please send an email to Sammy Esses at sammy@ucef.com.

Small Businesses Need Your Support

Senator Felder at Toys 4 U.

“Small businesses are essential to our economy and to every thriving neighborhood. Shop owners are your friends, neighbors, and relatives. For months, they have been choking and now they are at the breaking point. By shopping local, we can all do our part to sustain and protect them. Look for the bright red sign,” urged Senator Simcha Felder, “and when you need to shop, remember to shop local.”

Count mom and pop shops among those lost to coronavirus. The sad reality is that many small local businesses that shuttered their doors in compliance with shelter-in-place orders will never reopen. With challenges mounting, the battle to survive has taken on new urgency. Senator Felder is fighting to save small local businesses and is rallying for grassroots support. The campaign urges people to shop local with posters displayed in storefronts across the district, alerting local customers that they are open for business.

“Local small businesses are really struggling now. I know it firsthand. Now is the time, before buying anything, to make an effort to shop local and ensure local businesses will be there for you in the future,” said Yossi Itzkowitz, CEO of Toys 4 You.

“The administration found a way for big box stores to operate safely, but as New York City enters Phase One today, small businesses are still shackled. No browsing?? Shoppers have been browsing in Target throughout the pandemic! We must allow small businesses to operate safely, legally, and effectively, now,” said Senator Felder.

To request a poster contact Senator Felder’s office at 718-253-2015 or email Felder@nysenate.gov.

Cuomo Allows In-Service Special Education Services

Last month, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing in-person special education services for the upcoming summer months.

During the current restrictions enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential therapies and programs for special-needs children were abruptly cut-off, leaving them without vital services needed for their growth. Education Departments throughout the city and New York State can begin to administer the necessary services to eligible children.

“I have spoken to many parents who have witnessed their child’s regression over the past months,” said Mrs. Leah Steinberg, Director of Project LEARN of Agudas Yisrael of America. “Hopefully, this Executive Order will stop the regression and will allow our children’s health to finally progress.” Agudath Israel’s Project LEARN has been advocating on behalf of the special-needs community.