Plainview resident Marilyn Leibowitz got involved with the Lend a Hand Project 20 years ago, when the organization was just coming together. Serving Nassau and Suffolk counties’ disadvantaged families, the Lend A Hand Project serves more than 1,000 individuals in 300-plus families, including small children, single-family households, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors, who are all recipients of the care.
“While I was working I had limited time, but I wanted to give back to my community,” said Leibowitz. “Becoming a sponsor was a great way for me to get involved.”
Once Leibowitz retired, she got more involved, joining the board, serving as vice president and eventually becoming president, a post she still holds to this day. Leibowitz has sponsored the same recipient for almost 20 years. Anonymity is a key aspect of the program so recipients and sponsors use first names only. Leibowitz and her recipient exchange letters with stories about their lives.
“My recipient is a very special lady,” said Leibowitz. “She’s always grateful for my help and I get tremendous satisfaction in sponsoring her. Sponsorship is very rewarding to me.”
Rather than separating the haves from the have-nots, the Lend a Hand Project uniquely bridges the gap for many Long Island families, connecting them by the act of giving and receiving. To make connections possible, the Lend a Hand Project’s case manager thoughtfully matches families eager to give (sponsors) with families in need of support (recipients).
In a heartfelt story that illustrates the connectivity between recipient and sponsor, a recipient wrote to her sponsor family, “You have been there for us when no one else has been.”
The Lend a Hand Project values the sponsor’s ability to contribute by offering numerous programs in which to get involved. To learn more about how to become a sponsor or to make a donation, visit www.lendahandproject.org and to like the group on Facebook. Currently, there are more than 20 families on the wait list to receive sponsorship.
—Additional information by Molly England