Major Funding Allows Helping Harvest to Expand Fresh Food Distribution

Hunger needs continue to climb, challenging Helping Harvest to meet higher demand while also providing fresh foods to boost healthier eating. Thanks to a United Way Impact Grant, combined with a matching gift from an anonymous donor, Helping Harvest has met its fundraising goal and can complete the building of two on-site storage units that will increase refrigeration and freezer capacity and expand fresh food distribution.

United Way awarded a $450,000 Impact Grant last week to the agency, which was supported by the MacKenzie Scott gift they received in 2020. “This grant is an investment in fighting hunger and providing healthy food choices,” said Tammy White, UWBC President. “We were thrilled to have a matching gift from an anonymous donor because of their shared commitment to fight hunger in Berks County”, added White.

“I was speechless when I received the phone call from United Way telling me about the grant and the anonymous matching gift,” said Jay Worrall, President of Helping Harvest. “This level of generosity is a game-changer and transformational to our operations,” added Worrall. The $900,000 total gift allows Helping Harvest to store 250,000 more pounds of healthy foods to distribute to over 200 charitable programs in Berks, including food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs, senior living facilities and their Mobile Market distributions. Food distributed by the agency nourishes more than 110,000 people in the community each year.

Helping Harvest was in the midst of fundraising for the cold storage project and had received initial gifts to support the effort. “This community is very generous, and we share our gratitude with all of the individuals who have helped pave the way for this project. I am also thankful for our board of director’s leadership and generosity,” said Worrall. He noted all subsequent gifts received as part of the project will help fill the freezers, including hams and turkeys for the upcoming holiday season.

“We are excited to work with the donor and Helping Harvest; its partnerships like these that support innovative projects to improve lives,” said White.
White shared it is the hope of the anonymous donor to draw more support from other donors to match future United Way grants to meet needs and maximize impact. United Way Grants, fueled by the MacKenzie Scott gift, support programs and initiatives beyond the organization’s annual investments. These grants are guided by an advisory committee comprised of United Way board members and community volunteers and concentrate on issues around education, workforce development, health inequities and support COVID recovery efforts.