WASHINGTON, PA, December 22, 2021 – The CNX Foundation today announced a grant of $50,000 to Food Helpers, helping it surpass the threshold of the Community CARE Fund Challenge grant issued by the Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) in August of this year. Per the terms of the challenge, Food Helpers had to raise $250,000 by year-end in order to unlock a matching grant from WCCF. With the final $50,000 secured, Food Helpers will now realize a total funding amount of $500,000.
“When we first announced the Community Outreach Program, we started serving about 250 households (about 1,000 people) per month, the majority of which were new, so we could understand this “invisible” segment of the food-insecure population. With this grant helping us officially complete the $250,000 Community CARE Fund Challenge, we will be able to triple the number of distributions per month, starting in January,” said George Omiros, CEO of Food Helpers.
In July, Food Helpers initiated its new Community Outreach Program designed to help the working poor whose household income is slightly above the guidelines for government food assistance programs, yet they are still considered “food-insecure.” Nearly 10,000 people in greater Washington County meet that description, while another 10,000+ do qualify for government assistance and may already be supported by Food Helpers.
“We’re committed to this region for the long term,” said CNX Chief Operating Officer and CNX Foundation Board member Chad Griffith. “This is where we’ve lived and worked for generations and we want to see this community continue to thrive. Food insecurity is a hurdle that thousands of our neighbors still face. Our goal with this grant is to help remove that barrier so they can focus on things like education, job training, and supporting their families.”
In addition to food, the Community Outreach program also provides health and beauty products such toothpaste, shampoo, liquid soap, and other donated items.
“Addressing unmet needs in our community is an ongoing objective of our Community Foundation,” remarked Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “When we learned of Food Helpers’ new Community Outreach Program that was targeting needy families just above the income guidelines for government feeding programs, we knew immediately that we needed to support this effort to help our community's working poor. We praise the newly-established CNX Foundation for also recognizing the need and for rising to the challenge of our Community CARE Fund with such a significant grant."
CNX has increased its investment in the Washington/Greene County region since the onset of COVID-19, donating over a quarter million dollars in 2020 alone. Then in July of 2021, CNX Chief Operating Officer Chad Griffith joined the WCCF Board of Directors, while in October, CNX Vice President of Environmental Strategy Carrie Crumpton was named to Food Helpers’ Board of Directors.
Through the end of November, Food Helpers had raised nearly $200,000. The grant from the CNX Foundation effectively closes the remaining gap and triggers the additional $250,000 from WCCF’s Community CARE Fund.
Omiros shared, “It’s an amazing accomplishment. Just a few years ago, Greater Washington County Food Bank raised about $350,000 in community giving for an entire year. Now, we raised over $500,000 in three months. It really is an amazing testament to the individuals, organizations, and foundations who believe in our mission.
Thanks to everyone, from all of the individual donors to CNX Foundation’s $50,000 grant. Food Helpers is excited to be nourishing lives in our communities with your support!”