LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The United Way of Lancaster County created Project Share Our Stimulus at the beginning of the year as a way for community members to redistribute their COVID-19 stimulus checks to those in need. Now, the Lancaster Barnstormers are teaming up with the United Way to continue raising money for the initiative.
A portion of the ticket sales for the Barnstormers’ opening night game, which is this Friday, will be donated to Project SOS. The team’s “Paint the Town Red” initiative raises additional funds by initiating some friendly community competition.
For “Paint the Town Red,” Lancaster businesses created red window displays — red being the color of the Barnstormers. Until June 11, community members can vote for their favorite display on the team’s website. Each vote costs $1, individuals can vote more than once, and all of the money raised will go to Project SOS. Plus, the winning business will receive a catered suite night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
“Baseball is back,” says Carlynn Adams, marketing coordinator for the Lancaster Barnstormers. “We want to give back to our community because they’ve supported us while we have been away.” Adams says the team was looking to support a COVID-19 relief fund, so United Way of Lancaster County with its Project SOS initiative is a perfect partner.
“Being a center of all that’s happening in Lancaster, for the Barnstormers to be able to support these initiatives and to say, ‘Listen, here’s how you can give that will benefit your community and have a huge impact,’ that’s really powerful,” says Deb Jones, director of community initiatives at the United Way of Lancaster County.
Launched in January of 2021, Project SOS provides a way for individuals to donate excess stimulus check money — or funds from any other source — to be redistributed to Lancaster County residents facing financial challenges.
The funds are distributed using ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) guidelines, which helps ensure that the support goes to those who need it most. So far, Project SOS has helped more than 1,200 individuals in 365 households, and it has distributed over $200,000, says Jones.
Although the potential for future stimulus checks is still hazy, the United Way hopes to continue the initiative beyond the coronavirus pandemic, developing a community fund to help Lancaster County residents facing financial challenges at all times, says Maddie Seiler, director of marketing and communications at the United Way of Lancaster County.
The partnership with the Barnstormers will help support Project SOS into the future. Individuals can also make donations on United Way’s website. Applications for aid from the project “will re-open depending on funds raised,” according to the website.
In addition to supporting Project SOS, the Barnstormers will also be raising money for the United Way of Lancaster County, in general, this season explains Seiler. Individuals can volunteer to work as ushers at 60 games and other events at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Up to four people can volunteer for each event, and the Barnstormers will donate $20 per usher to the United Way.
Volunteers can sign up to usher events at this link, and they can designate which program they would like the money to go to, including emergency relief funds like Project SOS, at the bottom of the application.
“My general manager, Mike Reynolds, has always stressed that this is a community center as well as a baseball park,” says Adams.
“The strength of a community is coming together and working for the good of the community, and we’re seeing that here on all kinds of levels, from the Barnstormers and the corporate sector working alongside the nonprofit sector working alongside the families and individuals in need,” says Jones, “and that is so exciting to be able to see.”