First United Church of Christ Mission Fund awards $40,245 in grants

The mission of the former First United Church of Christ in Reading continues. A charitable fund that the church established before closing has awarded nine grants totaling $40,245.

The First United Church of Christ Mission Fund of Berks County Community Foundation recently released its fourth annual round of grants. The beneficiaries were organizations that feed and clothe those in need and provide activities for children and seniors.

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In 2017, after 264 years of serving the community, First United Church of Christ closed. The church transferred its endowment to the Community Foundation to continue the church’s mission.

Since the fund was established, it has awarded more than $150,000 in grants to local organizations.

This year’s grant recipients, award amounts, and programs supported:

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The Salvation Army of Reading: $8,000 for its summer day camp to maintain and increase educational skills among children.

Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County: $5,000 for Olivet Hubs of Hope, which provides hygiene packs, clothing, shoes, backpacks, bed sets, grocery gift cards, and mental health counseling to youth who have lost a parent or guardian.

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts: $5,000 for its After School Arts Program (ASAP) where professional artists and teachers offer hands-on, collaborative, equitable art projects to youth at no cost to their families, many of which face significant disadvantages.

New Journey Community Outreach Inc.: $5,000 to provide food, clothing, and support to those in need.

Berks Youth Chorus: $4,500 to cultivate joy for choral singing, leadership, confidence, friendship, and creativity in young singers through various programs.

New Bethel Church: $4,000 for its “Projecting Our Faith!” program that will use a screen and projector so text and videos are visible to all members, including those worshipping from home via online services.

Immanuel United Church of Christ: $3,220 to provide need-based scholarships to children ages 3 to 5 for the preschool Summer of Fun Enrichment Camp.

Bethany Children’s Home: $3,000 to encourage youth to achieve specific behavior goals while planning summer incentive trips and campus programs.

Reading Public Library: $2,525 to provide literacy care packages to residents of subsidized senior housing in Reading.

In addition, the fund supports St. Peter’s United Church of Christ of Wilshire and the First Senior Center of St. Peter’s through multiyear commitments.

The grant to St. Peter’s UCC Wilshire supports its Opportunity House Service Group, which serves hot, nutritious meals to the homeless residents of Opportunity House in Reading. The First Senior Center of St. Peter’s offers meals and opportunities for socialization, education, and exercise to seniors.

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