UPDATE – More than $660,000 has been donated to the West Reading Disaster Recovery Fund since it was established on Saturday, March 25. Donations have been made by more than 1,500 individuals, families, and businesses across Berks County and the country.
To assist with urgent, immediate needs, on March 30 the fund distributed a total of $220,000 to the families of those who died and to those displaced from their homes. An additional $230,000 will be distributed to those groups in the coming days.
“Out of respect for the families, we will not be providing specific details regarding those distributions,” said Kevin K. Murphy, president of Berks County Community Foundation, which created the fund in partnership with the United Way of Berks County at the request of West Reading Borough Council. “Our hope is that the funding will ease their burden as they cope with their loss.”Based on the level of donations received, the fund will continue to provide grants until it is depleted. The priority of those grants is as follows:
- Support to the families of individuals killed in the explosion for immediate financial losses.
- Support to individuals displaced from their homes as a result of the explosion.
- Support to organizations helping individuals displaced from employment as a result of the explosion.
- Support to the Borough of West Reading for planning and/or implementation of historical commemoration of the explosion (including, but not limited to the creation of a memorial to those lost).
“We are grateful to everyone who has given to the fund,” said Tammy White, president of the United Way of Berks County. “The outpouring of support of neighbor helping neighbor has been inspiring. The magnitude of this event transcends geography as local giving from Berks Countians is joined by contributions from people across the United States showing their support for our community. We thank everyone for the kind generosity.”