Last night on WFMZ’s show “Business Matters,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Susan Gilmore of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Edward Morrison of the Old Allentown Preservation Association, and Neighborhood Activist Diane Krauss joined host Tony Iannelli for a reflection on the tragic Allentown gas explosion.
Topics of conversation – as described by WFMZ’s Business Matters Blog – included “the state of our infrastructure in the Lehigh Valley, the emotional toll of the explosion, the incredible sense of community that developed in the aftermath of the tragedy and the struggles faced by aid agencies in delivering aid in the most equitable and expeditious manner possible.” During this show, the collection and distribution of funds by the United Way and its partner agencies, including Community Action, were not only questioned, but accused of being completely ineffective.
There is currently no system in place to deal with a local tragedy of this magnitude. The agencies that stepped forward to figure out a way to quickly and fairly distribute the funds that were collected over the weeks following the explosion have done so in order to see that it is done right. Local residents and businesses have collectively contributed approximately $150,000 to the Allentown Family Fund, which is an incredible display of support. It is our responsibility to see that those funds meet as many of the survivors’ needs as possible.
During the show, Mayor Pawlowski says, “I know the United Way is doing the best they can to collect this money and make sure they distribute it in an effective and organized manner. They would get criticized if they didn’t do that.”
Below are responses to the Business Matters Blog coverage of the show from our Executive Director Alan Jennings and Sandi Potter, one of the volunteers who has worked tirelessly to meet with and assess the needs of every person affected by the explosion.