NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Many nonprofit groups have struggled during the pandemic as financial support has dropped, and at the same time, the need is growing.
CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock spoke to the Valerie Fund about the importance of giving.
It’s not yet Halloween, but 7-year-old Amaya Bembry dreams of December.
“I love Christmas and I love playing videos of Christmas songs,” Amaya said.
Her birthday and, of course, Christmas are both in December.
“Do you already know what you want for Christmas this year?” Murdock asked.
“I definitely know that,” Amaya said.
This sweet, bubbly, fun little girl loves TikTok.
Watching her in action, it’s hard to believe Amaya suffered a cancer diagnosis in January 2019. Her mom, Kelly Bembry, tells us there’s really good news.
“She’s been off of treatment for a year now,” she said.
The Valerie Fund was by the family’s side through it all.
The nonprofit makes sure children with cancer and blood disorders get the best quality of care close to home.
“Their love and their care and their understanding,” Bembry said.
Even through the pandemic when Amaya no longer needed treatment or maintenance care, the Valerie Fund helped the Bembrys when work hours got cut drastically and unemployment took months to kick in.
“They’ve helped us with food, you know, with gift cards to purchase food, they’ve paid bills for us,” Bembry said.
Executive Director Barry Kirschner says emergency funding needs increased five fold because of COVID.
“It’s running about $10,000 a month that we’re providing to make sure that there’s food on the table for children fighting cancer and blood disorders,” Kirschner said.
Meanwhile, raising money is more challenging. Events are smaller or virtual.
Funding is down 10-15% over last year, but children are still being diagnosed.
“Their treatment hasn’t stopped and we can’t stop finding ways to support them,” Kirschner said.
‘Tis the season of giving, and keeping kids like Amaya happy and healthy remains a priority. May generosity prevail.
Since the start of the pandemic, 67 children have been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder at Valerie Fund sites.
For more information on how you can help, visit thevaleriefund.org.
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