BY JILL WHALEN
The United Way of Greater Hazleton has established a fund to financially support hospitality and restaurant employees who are out of work due to the COVID-19 restrictions that went into place in Pennsylvania on Dec. 12.
The local United Way made a $5,000 kickstart donation toward the Greater Hazleton Area Hospitality & Restaurant Worker Relief Fund, and is asking community members, businesses, and organizations to join as partners.
“For the past 10 months, hospitality and restaurant workers have increased their health and safety protocols while navigating the uncertainty of employment and the stressors of everyday living in a pandemic,” said Patrick Ward, president and CEO of the United Way. “These individuals continue to show up. They smile while their hearts break. They offer discounts on their most prized dishes just to put bread on their own plates. Now, they need our help more than ever.”
To date, the United Way has been joined by the First Federal Charitable Foundation, Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, CAN DO, PPL Utilities, an anonymous contributor, Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mayor Cusat’s Hazleton Revitalization Fund, Dr. and Mrs. David Sosar, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Stasko, Cheryl Prudhomme, Mr. and Mrs. John Patton, Mr. and Mrs. Sean Malone, and Mr. and Mrs. Pat Ward.
Nearly $18,000 has been raised.
One hundred percent of all donations will be utilized in the form of direct mini-grants to workers.
Hospitality and restaurant employees, who live or work in the Greater Hazleton area can contact the United Way for the assistance. The application requires basic demographic information and a most recent pay stub to determine income eligibility and verify recent employment.
Applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Mini-grants of $200 will be issued until funds are depleted.
Applicants may obtain the form from unitedwayhazleton.org and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday.
In order to help as many people as possible, contributions to the fund are greatly appreciated. Donors may mail contributions to United Way of Greater Hazleton, 134 S. Wyoming St., Hazleton, PA 18201 and include “Hospitality & Restaurant Work Relief Fund” in the memo.
Donations may also be made online at unitedwayhazleton.org.