United Way of Lancaster County is launching Project S.O.S., “Share OUR Stimulus,” a fund for stimulus check donations to be distributed to individuals who have experienced setbacks due to COVID-19. Inspired by the national campaign ‘Share the Stimulus,’ UWLC will facilitate donations from those who would like to donate to help those who apply for assistance here as a one-time gift. Of course, those who make more than the stimulus threshold are also encouraged to give.
United Way of Lancaster County was overwhelmingly inspired by the generosity of the Lancaster community through Facebook groups like Lancaster County Take Out and Lancaster PA Adopt a Server. These groups were created to support community members who have lost their jobs or to support local businesses that needed help during the pandemic. Numerous Lancastrians and Lancaster County small businesses have been aided through these avenues and even more members of the community have stepped up to help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a larger need for assistance in Lancaster County and with the higher volume of individuals reaching out for help, gaps have formed within the network of assistance. We have developed a LIST of areas where there is more need in the county.
Our recent survey with Franklin and Marshall College indicated that nearly 60% of Lancastrians are using personal savings more than before. We saw this as an opportunity to help balance those books for our neighbors.
Stimulus checks have started to hit the bank accounts of 150 million Americans, and many of these individuals and families have found themselves with hundreds of dollars that are not necessarily needed. Those who have been fortunate enough to sustain employment are searching for ways to help the over 16 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Specifically, in Lancaster County, the unemployment rate was 4.7% in November, equal to 13,400 jobless individuals.
As general guidance, we will be using United Way's ALICE framework for determining financial eligibility. Roughly, as an example this means individuals making below $21,000 and families making below $48,000 as a household and are facing unexpected needs should consider applying.
Due to the generosity of our Catalyst Sponsors, for the first $250,000 of funds raised, 100% of your gift will go directly to community members and neighbors in need with no administrative fee.