Seven organizations across Berks County receive United Way LIVE UNITED grants

United Way LIVE UNITED Grants provide one-time small grants, up to $5,000, to local grassroots and community-based organizations for creative projects that bring people together and improve the quality of life for Berks Countians. These grants are in addition to the annual funding provided to programs delivered through United Way’s 33 agency partners.

The 2022 grant recipients represent seven organizations located across the county and total $34,500.

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“These grants support a wide range of needs and help people in many different parts of Berks County. We are excited to fund innovative programming designed to achieve results, and we are thankful for United Way donors who make this all possible,” says Tammy White, President, United Way of Berks County.

Grant recipients include:

A $5,000 grant to the 18th Wonder Improvement Association will support the organization’s community garden initiative, which provides the 18th Ward neighborhoods access to affordable, healthy food options. Specifically, through Garden Based Learning workshops, more than 60 children, K-8, will participate in an experiential learning program centered on healthy eating and garden skills.

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A $5,000 grant was awarded to Café Esperanza to expand their operations so they may provide Brunch services. The pay-as-you-can café, located in Northwest Reading, aims to alleviate hunger and foster a sense of community among economically diverse people. Offering locally grown food when possible and serving as a venue for workshops and neighborhood events, adding Brunch meals will mean more meals for the hungry while connecting diverse groups visiting the café.

FaithCare Inc.’s Healthy Living Program received a $5,000 grant to offer free, bilingual and holistic family healthcare. The program promotes healthy choices to reduce risk of diseases and disabilities through a personalized care plan, with women’s health as a priority to detect breast and cervical cancer, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. The program is committed to meeting health care needs in the inner City of Reading that would otherwise go unmet.

A $5,000 grant to Girls on the Run (GOTR): Healthy Snacks Team Allowance is helping connect youth with healthy snack and food items. Recognizing roughly 20% of the program’s target population lives below poverty level and does not have adequate access to food, GOTR will increase each team’s site allowance to provide children with healthy, after-school snacks.

RIZE’s Solidarity through Art: Violence Prevention and Gender Equity Program received a $5,000 grant to conduct “rap sessions” – informal discussions and conversations – facilitated by Penn State Criminal Justice students with local youth to express their thoughts and experiences around solidarity, gender equity and gender-based violence through various forms of art. The project culminates with a community-wide Art in the Park event in April 2023, and the art will be on display during Berks Violence Prevention Week during that same month.

A $4,500 grant was awarded to Sisters Network Inc. Reading Chapter to expand their Sister Love Care Package Program and increase education/awareness around the impact of breast cancer in the Black community, which has a history of not discussing the disease, as well as other health concerns. The organization plans to provide 100 Sister Love Care Packages designed to educate and support newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients and survivors.

Western Berks Free Medical Clinic provides acute and chronic healthcare services in general adult medicine and gynecology to the underinsured and/or uninsured population of Berks County; they operate out of St. Daniels Church in Robesonia and soon opening a satellite clinic at Mary’s Shelter in Reading. In a recent survey, 43% of their patients shared they would have no place to go for health care if this organization was not providing their critical services. With the support of a $5,000 grant, WBFMC will increase advertising and promotional efforts to connect more people in need with their services.

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