Karen Shuey: $143,500 in grants awarded to improve health in Berks

May 25—Five local organizations have been awarded grants to fund programs that address health-related issues.

The Berks County Community Foundation awarded the grants, totaling $143,500, through its Home Health Care Foundation Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to provide assistance to programs that help residents recover from illness or disability at home, support preventive health care for residents and the overall community and provide health-related care to residents.

Grants are awarded to organizations that serve residents in Berks and surrounding counties.

The Home Health Care Foundation Fund has distributed more than $658,700 since it was established at the community foundation in 2020.

The following are the grant recipients for this latest round:

—$40,000 will go to Berks Encore. The funding will support its Medically Tailored Meal pilot program, which will provide 25 people with two meals and one snack each day for 12 weeks. Medically tailored meals are delivered to those living with severe illness who are on diets designed to improve health outcomes, lower the cost of care and increase patient satisfaction.

—$40,000 will go to the Western Berks Ambulance Association. The funding will support ongoing cardiac monitor replacements.

—$30,000 will go to Opportunity House. The funding will help cover the costs of renovating two storage rooms into bedrooms for shelter residents recovering from illness, replace 75 shelter mattresses and support the salary of a new social worker who will coordinate a program for at-home testing and recovery from COVID.

—$27,000 will go to the YMCA of Reading & Berks County to provide funding for its blood pressure self-monitoring program, which is designed to help adults with hypertension lower and manage their blood pressure. The grant will cover the cost for 108 participants in the first year of this program, including blood pressure monitors and cuffs for each participant.

—$6,500 will go to the John Paul II Center for Special Learning for medical and mental health crisis preparedness. The center said the pandemic highlighted the center's need to expand its medical supplies and train to respond more quickly to medical emergencies and mental health crises.

The fund will accept applications for another round of grants from June 1 until Aug. 15 at bccf.link/grants. The maximum amount available for each organization is $40,000.