First United Church of Christ Mission Fund awards $39,475 in Grants

The mission of the former First United Church of Christ in Reading continues. A charitable fund that the church established before closing has awarded 11 grants totaling $39,475.

The First United Church of Christ Mission Fund of Berks County Community Foundation recently released its second annual round of grants. The beneficiaries were organizations that provide summer and after-school activities for children and/or feed and clothe those in need.

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In 2017, after 264 years of serving the community, First United Church of Christ closed. The church transferred its endowment to the Community Foundation to continue the church’s mission. This year, the First UCC Mission Fund committee recommended the following awards.

$5,625 to Café Esperanza, which is a planned pay-what-you-can café. The café is intended to alleviate hunger in Reading by serving nutritious food to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The café also plans to promote healthy eating through education, such as nutrition and cooking classes.

$5,000 to New Journey Community Outreach Inc. for programs that feed, clothe, and support those in need in Reading. The organization is the largest daily soup kitchen in downtown Reading. It serves more than 4,000 individuals or families annually with more than 31,000 meals and more than 20,000 articles of clothing.

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Meals are served at New Journey Community Outreach

$5,000 to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts after-school arts program. This free program serves approximately 350 youth with dynamic, interactive art programs.

$5,000 to The Salvation Army of Reading for its summer day camp. The camp allows children to maintain and increase educational skills throughout the summer while also engaging them in fun and interesting activities.

$5,000 to Olivet Boys & Girls Club for scholarships for its eight-week summer camp. The camp also reduces hunger among children in Reading. The camp serves breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily.

$3,900 to Community Prevention Partnership for its “Feeding and Nurturing Families” program. The program reduces hunger among low-income families with young children.

$3,000 to Berks Youth Chorus to provide a variety of life-changing musical opportunities to more than 140 youth.

$2,250 to First Senior Center of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. The center offers seniors meals and opportunities for socialization, education, and exercise.

$1,800 to St. Peter’s United Church of Christ for its Opportunity House Service Group. The volunteer group serves hot, nutritious meals to the homeless residents of Opportunity House in Reading.

$1,800 to Berks Counseling Center to run a summer camp for children age 6 to 12 who are in the organization’s housing program.

$1,100 to the YMCA of Reading and Berks County for scholarships for children age 6 to 12 to attend Summer Adventure Camp. The camp includes swimming, arts and crafts, sports, field trips and more.

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