Jean Shafiroff at the NYC Thanksgiving Mission Society Community Dinner. Photo by Patrick McMullan Co. for Getty Images
The First Woman of Philanthropy, Jean Shafiroff, recently shared how she will focus her efforts on aiding a beloved food pantry in the Hamptons. “I will be donating resources each week for the next ten weeks to a charity called Heart of the Hamptons [@heartofthehamptons on Instagram],” says Shafiroff.
In addition to this much-needed support for Heart of the Hamptons, Shafiroff will also continue to support the seven charity boards she serves on. These boards include the Southampton Hospital Association and the Southampton Animal Shelter Honorary Board.
“I encourage all of you to donate what you can to this charity or to another local food bank in your community,” urges Shafiroff.
Today, we sat down with Jean Shafiroff to further discuss her Hamptons community support.
How have you partnered with Heart of the Hamptons in the past?
I serve on the board of a charitable foundation in Southampton. As a foundation, we have donated to them for many years. With the current pandemic, the needs of the community are greater than ever.
Why is Heart of the Hamptons in particular so special to you?
In times of a serious crisis, the most basic needs of all people are food, water, shelter and medicine. Heart of the Hamptons provides food to those most in need who live in the Southampton environs. It is a food pantry that supplies food to the most under-served people in our community. For the next 10 weeks I will be donating a weekly amount to them. I have also offered to get involved directly and hand out food. However, right now they are not accepting new volunteers. I am also trying to fundraise for them through social media and other channels.
In addition, I serve as a board member of a number of other charities in the Hamptons. They include Stony Book Southampton Hospital, the Honorary Board of Southampton Animal Shelter and the charitable foundation board of a private club in Southampton. I am also involved with the Ellen Hermanson Foundation and for many years have chaired their summer gala. My primary volunteer work with these and other charities is to help out by giving financially and by fundraising.
For those who are struggling financially, how may they still be able to help?
Through acts of kindness towards others. Comfort those around you (family members, friends and acquaintances) while still practicing social distancing. Make phone calls to those who are in need of comfort. Volunteering to help those in need is always vitally important. However, we are now asked to socially distance ourselves due to the coronavirus. First and foremost, we must follow the rules of our local, state and national leaders. We must socially distance if we are to reduce the number of cases due to this pandemic and flatten the curve.
How have you personally been affected by the pandemic?
Although I am now at home all the time practicing social distancing, my charity board work continues with board meetings being conducted by telephone. Fundraising continues by phone or by email. Sadly, I am not able to do hands-on-volunteer work because of the need for social distancing and looking forward to getting back to the task.
While at home, I am calling friends and reaching out to those in need. Almost every family income is either greatly reduced or now at zero. My family’s income is no exception. I am donating what financial resources I can.
How can we all look to the future together and be hopeful during this time?
There will be a beginning and end to this pandemic. Just today I heard of someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus (he tested positive three times) and had absolutely no symptoms of the virus. If we all work together as a community, as a country and as a world, we will conquer this.
A vaccine will be made and medications will be proven effective. Right now, we must do what we are told: stay home and socially isolate. We will conquer and help those in need!
For up-to-date information on Jean Shafiroff’s philanthropic efforts in the Hamptons and beyond, please follow her on Instagram.