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New fund helps Pocono hospitality & restaurant workers; hundreds will assistance

POCONOS - The Pocono Mountains United Way introduced its newly established Hospitality & Restaurant Worker Relief Fund Dec. 15. The fund is meant to support hospitality and restaurant employees across the four- county Pocono region who are out of work due to Pennsylvania’s new COVID-19 restrictions, which took effect December 12.

The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau made a $50,000 kickstart donation toward the fund, and in total, more than $65,000 has been raised so far. United Way and chamber of commerce organizations across all four counties are partners in this initiative.

“For the past ten months, hospitality and restaurant workers have increased their health and safety protocols while navigating the uncertainty of employment and the stressors of everyday living in a pandemic,” said Michael Tukeva, Pocono Mountains United Way President/CEO. “These individuals continue to show up. They smile while their hearts break. They offer discounts on their most prized dishes just to put bread on their own plates. Now, they need our help more than ever.”

As an offshoot of Pocono Mountains United Way’s Crisis Response Fund, 100 percent of all donations will be utilized in the form of direct mini-grants to workers. Hospitality and restaurant employees across the Pocono Mountains can apply online for financial assistance. The application requires basic demographic information as well as a 2019 Tax Return and most recent paystub to determine income eligibility and verify recent employment. Applications will be approved on a first come first serve basis and mini-grants of $250 will be issued until funds are depleted.

In order to help as many people as possible, online contributions to the Hospitality & Restaurant Worker Relief Fund are greatly appreciated. Or, donors can mail contributions to Pocono Mountains United Way 301 McConnell Street Stroudsburg, PA 18360 and include “Hospitality & Restaurant Worker Relief Fund” in the memo.

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