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New Challenge Match Announced Supporting Berks COVID-19 Response Fund

By United Way Berks

Apr 29, 2020
United Way of Berks County

United Way’s Berks COVID-19 Response Fund is providing grants to support a network of local safety net programs providing immediate assistance to Berks County residents impacted by the crisis. To date, the Response Fund has provided 22 grants, for a total of $344,000 to 18 health and human service organizations supporting needs like food insecurity, emergency housing and shelter programming, providing infant/family supplies, supporting child care for essential workers and more. To date, nearly $850,000 has been raised.

The Response Fund was bolstered last week with a new $100,000 Challenge Match, provided by Dena and Vic Hammel. “We know many Berks Countians are facing significant struggles right now, and we can’t imagine a more challenging time for our community’s nonprofits. Many crucial programs are needed now more than ever,” said Vic Hammel. “We are grateful for the nonprofits’ deep commitment to their work, and we are sharing our commitment with them through this challenge match. We trust United Way to direct our dollars where they are needed most to ensure services are continued for individuals and families most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We know there will continue to be an increased demand on services, as well as long-term needs resulting from the pandemic.”

“We are grateful for the incredible support provided by Dena and Vic Hammel who are long-time community leaders and philanthropists. This challenge match provides individual donors with an amazing opportunity to double their gift and help our most vulnerable citizens,” shared Tammy White, President, United Way of Berks County.

To donate, visit or text UWBCGIVE to 85511. All donations, minus any credit card fees, are directed to the fund. The listing of grant recipients is listed below, with more grants expected to be awarded in the coming weeks. To learn more about the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund and grant recipients, visit United Way’s website. The grant information is updated on a weekly basis.

When the Response Fund was launched on March 25, two challenge matches from Customers Bank and the Kindness Coalition, Karen and John Arnold were announced, with each providing $100,000. Those matching funds have since been fulfilled.

“I am in awe of our community and the generosity – – it truly is the Berks County way to lend a helping hand to those in need,” said White.

Berks COVID-19 Response Grant Recipients:

  • Berks Coalition to End Homelessness – shelter and food needs
  • Berks Connection/Pretrial Services – transportation needs
  • Blankets of Hope – Distribution of PPE (masks) for nonprofits and other frontline workers
  • Boyertown Area Mulit-Service – emergency pantry/food distribution
  • Catholic Charities – food pantry and supplies
  • Dayspring Homes – PPE equipment needs
  • Family Promise – housing/shelter needs
  • Hannah’s Hope Mission – emergency shelter
  • Helping Harvest – emergency food needs
  • Hope Rescue Mission – two grants- emergency shelter needs
  • Mary’s Shelter – infant/family essential needs
  • New Journey Community Outreach – two grants – emergency food distribution/clothing needs
  • Olivet Boys & Girls Club – emergency food distribution
  • Opportunity House – emergency shelter
  • The Rudden Family Foundation – supporting families in transition
  • Safe Berks – two grants – emergency support for domestic violence victims and safe housing/emergency needs
  • Salvation Army Reading Corps – food and basic needs
  • YMCA – two grants – emergency childcare and transitional housing

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