Beginning early 2020, we experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions were placed on our international and national travel, as well as our social interaction. Businesses closed within both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. There was a general shut-down in several countries (e.g., China, South Korea, Italy, France), as well as major cities and towns in the United States. The non-profit sector suffered tremendously as resources, both financial and human, were targeted to the most vulnerable segments of the population (e.g., essential services, front-line health care workers, the frail, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing critical health conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness).
The pandemic impeded our ability to plan travel and in-person donations of shoes to children in developing countries. Instead, we focused our efforts on children in need within our local communities in New York State. Through collaboration with our community-based partners, such as Family Services, Family, Astor Early Childhood Program, Ossining Children’s Center, Putnam Community Action Partnership, Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County, North East Community Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of Ulster County, we implemented our special program, “Educational Support: New Backpacks and New Shoes for Economically Disadvantaged Children of Families Impacted by COVID-19”. These partners modified their direct service activities. They suspended “group” and “social” activities and served clients on an individual basis. Food relief programs allowed us to reach a large number of children and families in need. We benefitted from grant awards and financial contributions from major donors such as Walmart, UPS Foundation, Macy’s, Key Private Bank – Klock Kingston Foundation, KeyBank Foundation, Dyson Foundation, Ascienzo Family Foundation, People’s United Bank, and C&S Wholesale Grocers.
Unfortunately, through the end of 2021 and despite a massive vaccination program, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to pose a threat. Travel restrictions, though eased both domestically and within several European countries, were reinforced with regard to developing countries (in Africa, Asia, and South America). We are still unable to implement our onsite international program.
On a more positive note, in October 2021, The Susie Reizod Foundation celebrated our 20th anniversary. On October 19, 2001, we incorporated as a charitable nonprofit organization.
Since April 3, 2002, when we received our 501c3, we have donated more than $1,200,000 (wholesale price or manufacturer’s cost) worth of new shoes (and, in special cases, new backpacks, school supplies, and other financial support) to 60,000 children in need in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, Lower Manhattan, Central and East Harlem, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Rochester, Columbia, Greene, Rockland and Putnam Counties; Massachusetts; Appalachia; Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama); rural areas of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida; rural areas of Albuquerque New Mexico; Moore, OK; Las Vegas NV; San Diego and Central Valley, CA; New Hampshire; Vermont; Newark NJ; Monmouth County NJ; Southern Indiana; Canada; Ecuador; Nicaragua; India (including Tsunami victims); Haiti; South Africa; Grenada; Angola; Kashmir; Tanzania; Afghanistan; Colombia; Dominican Republic (including children in the bateyes); China (Tibet, Malipo and Jinping); Ethiopia; Pakistan; Nigeria; Sudan; Somalia; Indonesia; Jamaica; Panama; Sénégal; Malawi; Mali; Bangladesh; and Morocco. We donated new shoes to children impacted by tornadoes in the Midwest, floods in Vermont, the BP oil spill, Hurricanes Katrina, Irene, Isaac, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We donated funds for vulnerable girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Malawi, in addition to new shoes, we donated funds for school desks and an income-generating theatre-size popcorn machine. We financed small business loans for men and women entrepreneurs in St. Louis, Sénégal. We supported All Star Code which provides young men of color the skills, networks and mindsets they need to succeed in technology.
Hopefully, during 2022, through COVID-19 vaccination programs both at home and abroad, when the pandemic no longer poses a threat, and after the easing of travel restrictions, we will be able to resume our international programs.
We hope that you will help us by sending a donation to: The Susie Reizod Foundation, P.O. Box 816, New Paltz, NY 12561; (845) 255-9708. Your donation is tax deductible under IRS tax code.
Cynthia E. Dozier