SHARPSVILLE – As the COVID-19 virus outbreak continues, the Buhl Regional Health Foundation awarded grants to organizations that can assist people in a time of need.

Executive Director Mickey Gula said the foundation gave $50,000 in grants to eight “safety net” organizations.

“We know there are families with children and elderly who may be low on food and we are encouraging them to use these organizations to obtain food,” Gula said. “There are people being laid off and it is difficult to purchase food. We’re helping to support these families through these agencies.”

The first organization awarded money is the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County. The health foundation gave them $12,500 and the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio matched the grant with another $12,500.

The Buhl Foundation also provided funding to:

• Lakeview Helping Hands in the Stoneboro area, $5,000.

• Prince of Peace Center in Farrell, $20,000.

• Salvation Army, Greenville, $5,000.

• Salvation Army, Sharon, $10,000.

• Keystone Blind Association, $7,000.

• Bethel Life Center, Greenville, $2,000.

• Good Shepherd Center Inc., Greenville, $1,000.

Gula said the foundation does not grant money to individuals but trusts that the agencies that receive funds will help families and individuals in need.

“The agencies are working unbelievably hard to get food into Mercer County and redistributing it to the community,” Gula said. “There are some concerns bringing food in a certain way.”

There is competition statewide and nationally with the distribution of food, she said.

“People can’t always make it to the grocery store,” Gula said. “We’re trying to help people who are struggling at this time.”

Gula said as a health conversion foundation, awarding food security grants comes under the health foundation’s mission to promote the health of individuals and groups in the area.

The foundation provides regular grants twice a year to organizations that meet health-related needs, including the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County.

“The agencies are right on the front lines,” she said.

Gula urged people who need some kind of assistance to send a text message to 898-211 or call the social services help line, 211, where operators can help point people to additional resources.

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