By Sandy Eller
While most organizations would find themselves taking a well-deserved break after an intense campaign that successfully surpassed their fundraising goals, life has been busier than ever at Amudim, with the number of calls coming in and new cases opened hitting unprecedented levels since Unite to Heal made its way into the record books on December 20.
A 36-hour jam-packed event featuring more than 100 well-known rabbis, mental-health professionals, educators, entertainers, public speakers, community leaders, athletes, and other well-known personalities, Unite to Heal topped its $5 million goal, with 10,319 unique donors digging deep into their hearts and their wallets to show support for Amudim and those who seek out its services. But in addition to covering a significant portion of Amudim’s $6.4 million budget, Unite to Heal was also a massive awareness event, one that drew nearly 700,000 viewers from all across the globe.
With the pandemic sparking a monumental mental-health crisis, Amudim has seen its case volume rising exponentially over the past ten months, with an 82% increase in active cases over the past year. Amudim opened 189 new cases in the first two weeks of December alone, with 248 new cases opened in the days following Unite to Heal through the end of the month and 2,300 calls, emails, and messages coming in over social media during that same time period.
Unite to Heal struck a chord that resonated with donors both near and far. While domestic donations came in from 33 states, with New York, New Jersey, and Maryland leading the pack, Israelis in 24 different cities also sent in their financial contributions, as did donors in Canada, England, Belgium, France, Italy, Ukraine, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Mexico, Panama, and Chile. In addition to the calls for help from individuals generated by Unite to Heal, Amudim has also received calls from Australia, South Africa, Belgium, England, and Switzerland from those interested in setting up services to serve their local communities.
Although the $5,034,632 raised by Unite to Heal is extremely significant to Amudim’s clients, the knowledge that more than 10,000 people on six continents came out in a show of support was the ultimate affirmation to those whose struggles had been swept under the proverbial rug until recently.
“This was the vision of our founder, Mendy Klein, z’l, who wanted to make sure that Jewish communities all across the world had access to services such as those being provided by Amudim,” said Amudim founder and CEO Zvi Gluck. “Mendy would remind us over and over again that no matter how much we did it was never enough and we continue to carry on his legacy by doing everything we possibly can, and then some, so that no one in any of our communities should ever have to suffer in silence.”
While Unite to Heal gave Amudim the ability to hire three additional case managers to meet the burgeoning need created by the pandemic, the campaign itself has triggered an avalanche of activity that makes the necessity of additional hires abundantly clear. The irony of a fundraiser only creating a larger need for funds isn’t lost on Gluck or anyone at Amudim.
“Based on what we have seen these last few weeks, we anticipate the increase of calls for assistance to continue to rise in 2021 and we will do whatever it takes to meet that demand,” said Gluck. “Baruch Hashem, we have seen the stigmas that prevented people from seeking help eradicated, watched as communities began embracing those in pain instead of pushing them aside, and have been overjoyed to see a growing awareness of abuse, addiction, and mental-health issues. We hear Mendy Klein’s words echoing in our ears every day and hope that the community will continue supporting us so that help for those in crisis can always be just a phone call away.”
To watch segments of the event, please visit UniteToHeal.com.