Electric City Connection Project Receives Grant Support

The Electric City Connection project receives grant support to carry on through pandemic.
The Black Box Cafe staff delivers catered meal to residents of Finch Towers.
The Black Box Cafe staff delivers catered meal to residents of Finch Towers.

At the beginning of the pandemic, a collaboration led by The University of Scranton, Scranton Tomorrow, and Friends of the Poor launched The Electric City Connection project to help address the emerging needs of both local restaurants experiencing an economic downturn due to the pandemic and to help Scranton area residents in need of food assistance.

This project was recently awarded a generous $20,000 grant from Scranton Area Community Foundation to continue its work throughout the summer and add to the generous community member donations that have totaled $26,955.

"This is a great opportunity to address challenges surrounding food insecurity in Scranton, which have been elevated during the COVID-19 crisis," stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. "Thanks to generous support from donors to the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund, the Scranton Area Community Foundation is able to provide support for the Electric City Connection project."

The program began by accepting donations in increments of $15, then used by local restaurant partners to supply gift cards for meals distributed by the Friends of the Poor Scranton to individuals and families facing food insecurity in our community. The additional support from the Scranton Area Community Foundation grant will help provide over 3,000 meals to community members, including gift card distributions as well as an expansion of the program to include senior citizens and residents with disabilities living in Downtown Scranton high rises.

“We are seeing a great and ongoing need in the area. Many people are first time recipients of food assistance, truly showing the economic struggles in the face of the pandemic.” Sr. Ann remarked. “Thankfully there is also a great deal of generosity and support to help fill our community needs. The Electric City Connection is a great program to mutually sustain both our local restaurant businesses, and also to provide food assistance to the individuals and families in our community during this challenging time.”

Friends of the Poor Scranton has distributed the gift cards from its weekday/daily food pantry located in West Scranton and FOP and the University of Scranton have worked jointly with Fitch Towers, Mulberry Towers, Geneva House and Amos Towers, to coordinate meals from local restaurant partners. For elderly and disabled downtown residents, these meals while nourishing for their bodies, are also a sign of the care our community has for them and a way to make connections during this time of physical distancing.  

This impact can be felt in the reactions from their residents, as Cathie Dougher, Building Manager at Amos Towers shared following a turkey dinner with all the trimming catered by Stirna’s Restaurant on July 23: “The meal was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all with smiles. This gesture will be a topic of conversation in our building for several weeks. The residents have been calling the office since the delivery expressing thankfulness for the delicious generous portions.” 

Continuation of the project also provides a much-needed economic boost to local restaurants at a critical time. Altogether, the project has injected more than $45,000 into our Scranton economy.

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, Stirna’s Restaurant, The Garden Mediterranean Café, 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, Vincenzo’s Pizzeria & Catering. 

Scranton Tomorrow will continue accepting donations for the duration of the project. To make a contribution, visit www.scrantontomorrow.org and click on Electric City Connection. To learn more about The University of Scranton, visit www.scranton.edu, and for more information about Friends of the Poor, visit www.fotp-ihm.org.

For questions about The Electric City Connection, contact The University of Scranton Community Relations Office via email at community@scranton.edu 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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