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Donation helps Rescue Workers during pandemic

The American Rescue Workers recently received a designated fund donation of $6,650 from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. The funds come from the Earl G. and Meda Stroble Fund.

Kendra Parke, marketing and community engagement coordinator for the American Rescue Workers said that the non-profit had applied for the funds to specifically help with their operations during the pandemic.

“This grant opportunity was really great for us because we could use it how we needed it,” Parke said.

The grant enabled the American Rescue Workers to continue all of their operations during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the usual source of funding for the organization, the resale and recycling of donated goods, was shut down.

“Under ‘normal’ circumstances, this model allows ARW to be nearly self-sufficient,” said Valerie Fessler, director of development and community engagement.

“Between the loss of thrift store revenues, sale of salvage and recycling and fundraising efforts, the American Rescue Workers realized nearly a half of a million dollars in lost revenue during the pandemic,” she added.

Fessler noted that like most of the clients served by the group’s ministry, ARW operates “paycheck to paycheck.” She added that the grant helped to defray some of the loss of revenue.

The American Rescue Workers operates three homeless shelters with a total of 70 beds.

The shelters remained operational to serve the at-risk population who were already impacted before the pandemic occurred. Additional operational costs were incurred in order to meet CDC recommendations for sanitizing all areas of the organization’s facilities, according to a release from ARW.

In addition, the Social Services Center at ARW had to remain open to provide emergency grocery assistance to those in need.

“We have definitely seen a difference through our grocery assistance program,” Parke said.

She noted that in a normal month, pre-pandemic, the grocery assistance program would serve around 750 persons. That figure has now increased to 1,000 per month.

Parke said that many of the people visiting that program are receiving assistance for the first time.

All operations at the Rescue Workers are now up and running.

“We are completely back in the full swing of things,” Parke said. “We’re just doing what any other business is asking people to do. Wear masks. Social distance.”

“We are giving out assistance, we’re still sheltering individuals. Everything is pretty much back to normal,” she added.

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