Last winter feels like an eternity ago, doesn’t it? When Saratoga Living unveiled our inaugural Saratoga Gives Back list and event in December 2019, we had the luxury of throwing a classy launch party, during which we were able to rub elbows with our honored guests, giving them the royal treatment in front of a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Thousands of dollars were raised for the honorees’ organizations, and all was merry and bright.
This year, our 10 newest honorees—five in Saratoga Living, five in Capital Region Living—are working under much more trying circumstances (i.e. the pandemic) in a year when their organizations are hurting a little bit more than usual. That, and we’ve traded rubbing elbows for 20-second handwashing.
So our newly minted Capital Region Gives Back event, which we’ll be hosting on December 10, will look a little different this year, due to COVID restrictions. But the endgame will be the same: raising money for great Spa City causes. (To get tickets to the event, click here.)
Join Saratoga Living as we honor our 2020 class of givers.
The longer we were told to stay home during the pandemic, the more concerns started to arise about what this sedentary—and often isolated—new lifestyle was doing to our physical and mental health. Locally, the Saratoga Regional YMCA swung into action, with Board Member Allison Meyers spreading the word to anyone who would listen.
“Everybody deserves good health, regardless of means,” Meyers says. “As we enter 2021, we’ll have the need for more physical activity and mental health support, which the Y provides. And we help just about everybody who asks for it.”
Seniors are a huge part of the Y’s membership, and this COVID experience has been a lesson in keeping them connected in a new virtual world. “Many of them have come to the Y daily for 30 years,” Meyers says. “When they were told to stay home, the Y staff made personal phone calls to make sure they didn’t need anything and started a daily email just for seniors, to keep them engaged and comfortable with the virtual experience. To this point, almost 10,000 seniors have participated in a virtual workout since the beginning of COVID.”
The Y also now provides assistance to children whose parents are unable to oversee their at-home learning, as well as post-lockdown nutritional guidance. Surprisingly, many people don’t even know that these programs (not to mention the Y’s bread-and-butter “swim and gym”) are free to anyone who asks for financial assistance, with the association providing more than $780,000 in assistance last year. “We now have a fraction of the membership that we had,” Meyers says. “So we’re really looking to the community to help us be able to continue to provide wellness to people during one of the greatest times in history they’ll be needing it.”