The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division has announce it has received two generous grants that will help fill critical gaps in funding that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both grants will serve residents of Berks County who are facing unprecedented financial hardships due to soaring unemployment rates.

Berks County Community Foundation has released $40,000 in total to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army of Reading Citadel Corps Community Center will receive $20,000 for food supplies and The Salvation Army of Boyertown Corps Community Center will receive $10,000 to use where the emergency needs are greatest. Also, nine Berks County Service Extension Units will receive $10,000 for emergencies such as food, utility, rent or clothing assistance.

“We will use some of those funds to help workers from the Hamburg Family Store and Donation Center who were temporarily furloughed due to COVID-19,” explained David Burgmayer, The Salvation Army’s Service Extension Director.

In addition, The Salvation Army of Reading Citadel Corps has received a $20,000 grant from the United Way of Berks County (UWBC) to purchase and distribute food throughout Berks County. In late March, UWBC recognized that Berks County nonprofits such as The Salvation Army were facing significant challenges serving individuals and families most-in-need during the pandemic and created the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund.

“We’re so grateful for the United Way of Berks County and Berks County Community Foundation for awarding us these funds. We need the money now, more than ever. Since the crisis began in mid-March, we’re giving out five times as many meals each week than we used to,” said Major Darren Mudge, Commanding Officer at The Salvation Army of Reading Citadel Corps Community Center. “We are working every day to meet the growing needs, and these grant awards will help us greatly.”

Since the health crisis began, The Salvation Army has distributed over 1.5 million meals throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware using a “Corps at the Door” approach at feeding sites, including those in Berk County. Workers on the frontlines wear masks, gloves and practice social distancing while distributing food boxes to individuals and families outside of Salvation Army facilities. As more people lose their jobs, new clients are coming to The Salvation Army looking for help.

The Salvation Army is actively seeking partnerships with corporations, foundations, and community partners to help meet the growing demand for food.
To donate from a distance, go to The Salvation Army’s Virtual Food Pantry at salvationarmypa.org. All donations for the Virtual Food Pantry will be directed to the ZIP code in which your donation originates.