More than 2,500 people came together to support the Orthodox Union’s (OU) Yachad organization in a late 2020 campaign to raise much-needed funds to increase services, programs and scholarships for individuals with disabilities.

The group raised a total of $1,614,239 within the 36-hour campaign.

“From the moment physical programming shut down in March, Yachad’s team has been finding innovative ways to continue to provide safe services to their members, and it’s humbling to see the community support their efforts in such a robust fashion,” said OU executive vice president Rabbi Moshe Hauer.

Funds will go towards increasing daily virtual programming on Yachad on Demand, the group’s virtual platform; expanding clinical support services to families, including parent groups, sibling support for multiple age groups and “wellness check-ins” to Yachad participants; and increasing home-delivery packages for individuals with disabilities isolating at home.

They will also help provide access to digital devices for those who need them in order to connect to Yachad’s virtual programs; necessary support services to IVDU Schools students to facilitate their adjustment to virtual or hybrid educational models; as well as for scholarships for Yachad summer programs.

“As a result of COVID-19, many of our in-person programs and fundraisers were canceled in order to protect the physical safety our members, supporters and friends,” said Yachad associate director Ken Saibel. “The secondary result, unfortunately, was that many of our members felt more isolated than ever, and our services became all the more important to them and their families.”

OU president Moishe Bane added that “Yachad is a cornerstone program of the OU and plays a critical role in Jewish communities across the country by providing programming, services and Torah education to participants and their families. We are grateful that the community rallied around them to make sure that we can continue programming that is so important to Yachad members and their families.”

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