YouGiveGoods Award Winner Engages Record Number of Virtual Volunteers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

MENDHAM, N.J. (June 24, 2020) – YouGiveGoods, the e-commerce charitable giving platform, announces its first-ever “Greatest Community Engagement Award” recipient, Billy Gonyou, Community Event and Food Drive Manager for Long Island Cares.

When COVID-19 hit the country in early March, school and business closures caused a dramatic leap in the numbers of those affected by food insecurity. But, when the need was at an all-time high, stay-at-home orders meant that traditional food collection drives could not take place. YouGiveGoods virtual food drive system quickly became an important tool in helping to stock the shelves of food pantries across the country during the crisis.

YouGiveGoods and Long Islands Cares, Inc.-The Harry Chapin Food Bank already had a strong partnership, but Mr. Gonyou took the initiative to engage the local community like never before. He reached out via email and social media, explained the increased need and challenging circumstances, and requested that community members start their own drives as part of his COVID-19 Relief Giving Event benefiting Long Island Cares.

Billy explains, “When New York shutdown, COVID-19 left us no choice but to adapt our methods of operating, and quickly. With the immediate cancellation of almost all of our food drives, I knew we had to strengthen our presence on YouGiveGoods' platform. We were forced to distance ourselves from normalcy, but connecting virtually allowed us to serve Long Islanders from the comfort and safety of virtual food drives.”

The response was overwhelming - 125 individuals, groups and companies started their own drives as part of the COVID-19 Giving Event. This marks the largest single nonprofit “challenge event” in YouGiveGoods’ eight-year history. The COVID-19 Relief Giving Event started by Billy has raised over 94,000 pounds of food to date and is on track to exceed their goal of 100,000 pounds.

Billy’s initiative prompted giving events run by government officials and legislators, radio stations, local businesses large and small, boy/girl scout troops, community groups and individual volunteers. YouGiveGoods president, Lisa Tomasi, notes, “Billy’s COVID-19 Relief Giving Event is the best example to date of the ease and scope of community engagement achievable with YouGiveGoods. In the end, all walks of life in the Long Island area came together, from politicians to boy scouts, and made meaningful contributions to the community in a time of dire need.”

YouGiveGoods wished to formally recognize the outstanding effort by champion community leader, Billy Gonyou, with its first ever “Greatest Community Engagement Award”. In addition to his creativity and resourcefulness, the success of his event would not have been possible without the generosity and compassion of the Long Island community which stepped up to help their neighbors when they needed it most.

“The partnership between YouGiveGoods and Long Island Cares has resulted in the regional food banks’ ability to receive food donations smarter and safer, especially during a time when a majority of our country continues to comply with social distancing guidelines, which have reduced our opportunities to conduct in-person food drives,” said Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares. “We’re all very proud of Billy’s accomplishments in organizing our virtual food drives, and I’m so grateful for the response we’ve received from the community wanting to support their neighbors in need.”

Congratulations to Billy Gonyou, Long Island Cares, and the Long Island community for their outstanding achievement!

About YouGiveGoods

YouGiveGoods, LLC, is an innovative e-commerce company that connects tangible giving to community needs through our free giving platform. Support any cause when you raise food, disaster relief supplies, toys, school supplies, socks, diapers, blankets – any goods your selected nonprofit may need, all brand-new and delivered to their door. YouGiveGoods' technology enables corporations, groups and individuals to create unique giving experiences with custom designed drive pages. Specializing in workplace giving, YouGiveGoods events maximize employee engagement while meeting the needs of the nonprofit and the corporation. A YouGiveGoods online drive is a simple, efficient, measurable activity that makes a real difference in your community.

Diane Frain
1-877-526-4483 x107

About Long Island Cares

Founded by the late Harry Chapin, Long Island Cares brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island and, to the best of our ability, provides for the humanitarian needs of our community. Our goals are to improve food security for families, sponsor programs that help families achieve self-sufficiency, and educate the general public about the causes and consequences of hunger on Long Island. Our vision is “A Hunger Free Long Island”.

Claire Fratello
Assistant to the CEO for Administration & Media Relations
631.582.3663 Ext 102