Electric City Connection Project Becomes Model for Other Cities

    The Electric City Connection, a business and community partnership program, led by The University of Scranton (Community Relations Office, Center for Service and Social Justice and The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center), Scranton Tomorrow and Friends of the Poor in collaboration with Scranton restaurants, accepting $15 donations from area residents, which will then supply meals to low income residents. The program has garnered national attention and raised more than $24,000 to date.
    April 28, 2020

    The Electric City Connection,  a collaboration led by The University of Scranton, Scranton Tomorrow and Friends of the Poor was launched on March 20 to help address the needs of both local restaurants and local Scranton area residents in need. The program is accepting donations, which are then used by local restaurant partners to supply gift cards for meals for low-income residents.

    The effort has raised over $24,000 and provided over 1,650 meals with more than 15 restaurants participating from across city neighborhoods. The project has garnered attention nationally. Through a listserve maintained by the International Town-Gown Association (ITGA), of which the University is a member, Scranton has shared its model with other cities and universities in Illinois, Ohio and Washington State.  Jamie Callison, the executive chef in the Washington State University (WSU) School of Hospitality Business Management, along with the Community Action Center and Jeanne Weiler, WSU’s downtown initiatives coordinator, learned how to organize this collaboration from the University of Scranton. Read more about their program here

    Friends of the Poor has distributed the gift cards from its weekday/daily food pantry located in West Scranton and has worked with senior citizen housing entities in the downtown as well, such as Fitch Towers, Mulberry Towers and Geneva House. “We are seeing tremendous need among families and individuals in our community due to this crisis. We are glad to partner on a program like this that taps into community generosity and also supports our local small businesses,” said Sr. Ann Walsh, IHM, assistant director, Friends of the Poor.

     The project has been a win-win. Local residents facing food insecurity, often with limited access to transportation, are able to have fresh meals delivered directly to their door. Some individuals are newly out of work and may be the first time recipients of this type of aid. Restaurant partners benefit from the purchase of gift cards at a time when many are struggling in the face of the customer and economic downturn.  

    This program is still accepting donations and will continue as long as there is funding and need.  Donations to provide meals can be made through Scranton Tomorrow, at 100% of funds are used to purchase gift cards.

    Restaurant partners include, but are not limited to: A Little Pizza Heaven, Abe's Kosher Deli, Downtown Victoria's, Fratelli's Restaurant, Mansour's Market, The Peculiar Slurp Shop, Pizza by Pappas, Savory Maza, Zummo's Café, Villa Maria's, The Black Box Café, Glider Diner, Sacco's Pizza, Taco Bandito, Paradise Soulfood & Sweets

    For questions about The Electric City Connection, contact The University of Scranton Community Relations Office via email at or by calling 570-941-5529. Additional University partner offices include the Center for Service and Social Justice and University of Scranton Small Business Development Center


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