This holiday season, we encourage you to throw kindness around like confetti. Now is the perfect time to focus your effort on giving back to the community. By helping others, we truly do help ourselves. By recognizing that there are others that may not be as fortunate as ourselves, we can go above and beyond to make their holiday season a bit brighter.
If you are local to the Reading, PA area (where our office is headquartered) we have put together a list of organizations that will gladly accept your charity–whether it be your time, donations, monetary assistance, or more. Here at UGI EnergyLink, we place an important emphasis on giving back–and we hope you do too!
United Way of Berks County
United Way is a great organization to give back to, and one that typically exists in all local markets. This is a big one here at UGI EnergyLink. United Way helps people in need and addresses critical issues to make our community a better place for everyone. They bring together the right mix of people and organizations to focus on the community’s health and human service needs.
The Berks County chapter works closely with 33 Agency Partners to provide funding within a wide range of programs including education, financial stability, health, and safety services. There are a few ways to give back to United Way of Berks County–including volunteering and giving donations. Many businesses offer a paycheck deduction as a way to give back monetarily.
This local foodbank distributes more than 11 million pounds of food annually. Helping Harvest collects, purchases, stores, and distributes food to more than 320 programs that feed the hungry in Berks and Schuylkill counties. Some of these food programs include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs, Mobile Markets, and senior housing facilities.
On average, 24,000 individuals are nourished each month with food received from the pantry. And more than 2,000 children a week participate in the Weekender program–which provides a bag of food for kids to take home on Fridays for the weekend (this is 52% of the population of school-aged children in each county). To participate in giving back to Helping Harvest, you can volunteer, (such as repacking food drive donations, stuffing the monthly senior citizen food totes, and more) donate money or food, or start a food assistance program.
The Salvation Army
This organization embraces the homeless, uplifts the abused or abandoned, trains and mentors the disadvantaged, provides character-building programs for youth, and assists the displaced and elderly.
This time of year, The Salvation Army has the Angel Tree program, which provides warm winter clothing, toys, and other needs for children up to 12 years old, as well as senior citizens. Over 14,000 of these gifts have been distributed. It’s as easy as picking from the children and seniors in need and supplying their wish list for this upcoming Christmas. The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers and donations for their various programs.
Safe Berks provides a safe haven and ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault here in Berks County. They offer a hotline/crisis service, housing and shelter, as well as emergency shelters, counseling, legal services, community outreach, and education.
One way to give back to Safe Berks is to donate. The donations enable Safe Berks to support victims and provide services for thousands of local individuals each year, including children. The organization is always looking for new items as well–such as towels, sheets, clothing, baby items, toiletries, and more.
‘Tis the reason for the season–to give back to those that are less fortunate. There are some wonderful organizations and programs here in your community that help those who need them. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the blessings that we are lucky enough to have–and seek ways to make life better for those around us. These organizations are a great way to start.