FirstEnergy’s $500,000 donation benefits food banks in Westmoreland, Cranberry, elsewhere
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Those picking food from organizations served by the Westmoreland County Food Bank will have their food placed in pre-packaged boxes, thanks in part to $30,000 donation from the foundation linked to West Penn Power Co.’s parent corporation.
Organizations served by the Westmoreland County Food Bank will receive goods in pre-packaged boxes, thanks in large part to a $30,000 donation from The FirstEnergy Foundation — affiliated with West Penn Power Co.’s parent corporation.
“This is a tremendous help,” said Jennifer Miller, CEO of the Delmont-based food bank which serves more than 7,000 disadvantaged families.
Because of the fear of spreading the coronavirus that causes covid-19, Miller said the food bank will deliver life-sustaining goods to various pantries in boxes. If it had not received money from the foundation, Miller said it would have spent its own to buy boxes — thus reducing what would be available to buy more food.
The FirstEnergy Foundation, funded by the company, donated $500,000 to 42 food banks and hunger centers in the communities served by FirstEnergy’s utility companies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia. More than 150 organizations have benefited from $2 million in contributions, the company said.
The foundation also distributed $5,000 to the Lighthouse Foundation Food Pantry in Valencia and the Gleaners Food Bank in Cranberry, said Todd Meyers, a West Penn Power spokesman.
The foundation also will accelerate approximately $1.5 million in matching contributions to 116 United Way agencies throughout the company’s service territory to help support vital health and human services organizations now.
The FirstEnergy Foundation will provide $2 million to communities the company serves to help families in need during the pandemic response, said Lorna Wisham, foundation president and FirstEnergy vice president for community involvement. It made accelerated payments to 116 agencies in its footprint this week.
”The pandemic requires an urgent and strategic response from the philanthropic community, and fast-tracking funding to our United Way agencies for operational and program support is a way FirstEnergy can help,” Wisham said.
The covid-19 crisis unfolded during FirstEnergy’s annual employee Harvest for Hunger campaign, but most of fundraising activities were canceled because of restrictions on groups gathering together. As a result, the foundation is donating to local hunger centers to help those suffering from the economic fallout that is part of this health emergency, Wisham said.
Miller said the Westmoreland food bank has received many calls and referrals from people seeking food.
“It’s not very dramatic, but there is definitely an uptick,” Miller said.
The foundation matches employees donations and disperses them to the United Way on a rolling basis throughout the year. FirstEnergy again will make accelerated payments to 116 agencies in its footprint this week.
Local | Regional | Westmoreland
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