HERMITAGE – When most businesses were forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Keystone Blind Association continued to provide essential services to Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals in the community. And now, the association is asking for the community to give back.

Although transportation to non-essential appointments was suspended, Keystone Blind continued to provide clients with transportation to doctor’s appointments for significant health-related issues. The agency also provided grocery pick-up and delivery for its clients. Casework Services handled 465 transportation trips and 18 trips to Pittsburgh for clients between April and September. In addition, the KBA services department has been making wellness check phone calls to ensure its clients have what they need to get through the pandemic safely.

To help support its services and operations for 2020, Keystone is having a $25,000 cash raffle. The association is selling 1,000 tickets at $50 each that can be purchased online, at the Keystone headquarters in Hermitage or from a Keystone employee. First prize is $15,000 (or 30% of sales), second prize is $5,000 (or 10% of sales) and third prize is $5,000 (or 5% of sales). Winners will be drawn at 3 p.m. on Nov. 2 live on the Keystone Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit Keystone Blind Association.

Keystone Blind Association was established in 1947 to provide services to blind and visually impaired persons in our community. KBA offers services in Mercer, Crawford, Lawrence, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Services are also provided by Keystone’s affiliate agencies in Beaver, Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pa. These services include Specialized Services (transportation with sighted guide, shopping assistance, life skills, support groups, etc.), Orientation and Mobility Instruction, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Assistive Technology, Prevention of Blindness screenings and programs, Keystone Kids/Young Adults programs, and several employment opportunities not mentioned above. In addition to the human services, KBA operates a public store front and production facility for the Keystone line of industrial digging and striking tools and safety helmets.

All tools and helmets are assembled by the Keystone team of blind, visually impaired or otherwise disabled workers in our Hermitage building. Keystone also operates a federal mailroom and courier services contract, toilet paper manufacturing facility in the Philadelphia area and employment at PennDOT rest areas as well as Driver’s License and Photo ID centers across Pennsylvania.

For information about programs or services, contact Keystone at 724-347-5501 or visit their website at www.keystoneblind.org.