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In just a few weeks, York County COVID-19 Response Fund raises over $845,000

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

In just a few weeks, the York County COVID-19 Response Fund has raised more than $845,000 to be distributed to nonprofit organizations that are providing assistance to York County residents facing hardships brought on by the  pandemic. 

The fund, launched jointly by the United Way of York County and the York County Community Foundation, was formed in response to nonprofit organizations requiring more support as the need for their services grows in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Darlene Leonard, director of community services for the Northeast Neighborhood Association, hands Shawn Taylor of York City a box of food, Monday, April 27, 2020. More than $800,000 raised by the York County COVID-19 Response Fund has been distributed to eight local organizations, including the Northeast Neighborhood Association, and New Hope Ministries.
John A. Pavoncello photo

“I’m thrilled and inspired,” said Jane Conover, president and CEO of the York County Community Foundation. “We have a large pool of money to be able to support our neighbors in need.”

On Friday, the first round of grants, totaling $186,095, were circulated to local organizations providing food services to York County residents, including Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Community REACH Inc., Mason Dixon Community Services, New Hope Ministries, the Northeast Neighborhood Association, YMCA of York and the York County Food Bank. 

The YMCA of York will be using its check to fund one of its programs, Southern Community Services, which assists residents living in the Southern, South Eastern, Dallastown and Red Lion school districts, said Sarah Thomas, a spokeswoman for YCCF.

Dover Center managerVictoria Ernest packs boxes of food for consumers at the New Hope Ministries, Monday, April 27, 2020. More than $800,000 raised by the York County COVID-19 Response Fund has been distributed to eight local organizations.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Conover said the first phase of grant donations focused on helping food banks because of the basic, immediate need to feed families.

The Health and Human Services Helpline for the South Central Pennsylvania region has seen a 40% increase in calls from people requesting help with food, according to a news release.

Though the COVID-19 response fund will also focus on other areas of financial support — like housing stability — Conover said she expects an anticipated, continued need for food assistance.

The COVID-19 response fund was  launched March 27 and backed by a $100,000 gift from the York County Community Foundation. 

Additional donations have been provided by private foundations, corporations, individuals and local businesses, Conover said.

"I'm inspired by the number of people who stepped up to help their neighbors and friends," she added. 

Volunteer Nina Hoover of Dillsburg, packs boxes of food for consumers at the New Hope Ministries' Dover location, Monday, April 27, 2020. More than $800,000 raised by the York County COVID-19 Response Fund has been distributed to eight local organizations.
John A. Pavoncello photo

While no grant applications are being accepted, recipients are being identified by surveying and engaging with nonprofit and government agencies that have responded to the effects of coronavirus.

A community advisory committee also was formed to provide input on priority needs and will include representatives from local agencies, health and human service sector experts and representatives from the community.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so will the goals of the response fund, Conover said. 

While continuing to support organizations that provide food security, she expects the fund to also support groups that provide housing stability, another basic need. 

Individuals or groups looking to donate to the York County COVID-19 response fund can either donate at the United Way of York County website or the York County Community Foundation website.

"We're still fundraising," Conover said. "There will continue to be a need for donations."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.