March 19, 2020
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) announced a total of $30,000 in grants has been awarded from the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund. The fund was created earlier this week to provide grants to human service organizations serving Washington County, Pennsylvania, in response to local disasters and emergencies. Currently, the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund is concentrating its efforts in response to the COVID-19 virus.
Grants of $10,000 each have been designated for the Greater Washington County Food Bank, the Salvation Army Washington Corps, and the Washington City Mission to help address hunger.
The Greater Washington County Food Bank will use its $10,000 grant for food packaging supplies. Food Bank Executive Director Connie Burd remarked, “Assuming our food orders are processed and delivered as expected, our most pressing shortage is packaging materials. Maintaining product integrity and safely palletizing the product for distribution is essential, but it costs approximately $1 in packaging materials for each box we deliver to clients. We currently prepare for 4,000 units per month and will be prepackaging to minimize human contact and help protect the safety of those we serve.”
As there are many individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 business closures, the Washington City Mission is coordinating Pop-Up Pantries for anyone in need at four different locations across Washington County. Depending on the quantities of supplies secured and the extent of the virus’ impact, Washington City Mission intends to host the pantries for three to four weeks. Each pantry client will receive a bag of groceries featuring non-perishable food items and paper products. It is anticipated that the $10,000 grant from the WCCF will help to create 500 bags for distribution. The first Pop-Up Pantries will be held on Monday, March 23 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hidden Treasures store in Washington and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hidden Treasures store in Canonsburg. On Thursdays, the Pop-Up Pantries will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Monongahela Hidden Treasures store and 1 to 3 p.m. on the City Mission Main Campus. “We will not be verifying anyone’s ‘need’ with paperwork or documentation, we will just be helping those who ask for help,” remarked Dr. Sally Mounts, Washington City Mission Chief Development Officer.
Additionally, the Salvation Army will use its $10,000 Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund grant to expand its Love in a Backpack program.
“Our Love in a Backpack effort, under normal circumstances, services nine schools with a total of 597 children receiving supplemental nutritional food on the weekends. With school being out, we have a plan in action to service alongside the drive-thru lunch distributions at Trinity, Washington, and McGuffey School Districts until school resumes,” stated Captain Amber Joy Imhoff, Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army Washington Corp. “Our bags typically contain items such as granola bars, cereal, macaroni and cheese, tuna fish, and soup. But, we will be adding loaves of bread, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, sauce as we are able to get them. With parents staying home with children, we know that there will be in some case loss of income and also more food consumption at home.”
“Speed is key to responding to any emergency, and because of the generous support we have received these past few days, the Foundation has been able to quickly address some of our community’s most urgent and immediate needs through the first Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund grants,” remarked WCCF President & CEO Betsie Trew. “At the Foundation, we will continue to promote the fund as an opportunity for Washington County residents from all walks of life to play a role in helping local people who are experiencing hardship as a result of these extraordinary circumstances.”
As conditions change and more needs are identified, it is likely that additional human service organizations will be added to the list of grantees.
Members of the community are invited to support these efforts by making a tax-deductible gift to the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund. Credit Card donations may be made via the Foundation’s website at www.wccf.net. Checks payable to “Washington County Community Foundation” may be mailed to 1253 Route 519, PO Box 308, Eighty Four, PA 15330. Please write “Close to Home Fund” on the memo line. For other types of gifts, including IRA Charitable Transfers, please contact the WCCF at 724-222-6330.
The Foundation waives its normal management fee for the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund.
The mission of the Washington County Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life in Washington County by promoting and facilitating philanthropy. It was one of the first community foundations in the country to be approved for the rigorous National Standards for Community Foundations and was re-accredited in 2020. It is the largest publicly-supported grant-making foundation in Washington County and cumulatively has provided approximately $17 million in grants.