Our communities have been faced with issues of food insecurity, blood donation shortages and unemployment for decades. Unfortunately, we’re seeing those problems grow exponentially as people’s livelihoods are threatened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory shutdowns/shelter-in-place. Today, we want to share what we’ve been doing address our community needs up to this point and what we’re doing to readjust our focus during this crisis.
Last November, we began partnering with the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. NAP encourages businesses to contribute funds to distressed communities to aid in community and workforce development, housing, and food insecurity. Through this program, we can directly address the food insecurity our communities are dealing with.
To ensure that our contributions reach those who needed it most, we chose to partner with the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank. They provide food assistance and nutritional education to Faith-based and 501(c)3 non-profit community organizations and serve four PA counties: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming.
In January 2020, we made our first donation of $25,000 to the Fill a Glass With Hope campaign by Feeding Pennsylvania. They were one of the groups responsible for launching the first statewide charitable fresh milk distribution program and can turn $1 into eight servings of milk. Seeing the impact of NAP so quickly made us determined to help as many communities as we could.
Because of that, Cabot has pledged to contribute $250,000 per year for the next five years (totaling $1.5 million) to NAP. We’re striving to end hunger across northeastern Pennsylvania, and we believe this pledge helps move down the road towards achieving that goal.
With the help of the Weinberg Food Bank, we chose a variety of organizations where our funds will be distributed in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused community needs to shift. In response, we’re allocating $50,000 to aid those communities being hit the hardest and who need assistance now.
To further aid in the COVID-19 support, we’re donating our radio advertisements to share messages of community action. The broadcasts spans across greater NEPA and reaches thousands of people who might be able to help.
One effort we’ll be highlighting is how the American Red Cross is responding to a severe blood shortage right now. They’ve set up various blood drive locations across NEPA and are calling on all healthy and eligible people to donate. To find a blood drive near you, visit the American Red Cross Blood Services page.
We’ll also be sharing information on local food banks such as Trehab, a community action agency that serves and advocates for the poor, unemployed/underemployed, elderly and other at-risk groups. They are extending their hours for the Montrose and Susquehanna locations.
These are unprecedented times, but we must do what we can to help each other. Aid can come in multiple forms: calling a loved one, donating to a charitable organization, giving blood. Whatever help you can offer—do it.