FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alan L. Jennings 610-248-9900
BOSCH “STANDS UP TO SANDY” WITH $100,000 CONTRIBUTION TO RELIEF EFFORT
With Another $20,000 From Catholic Charities, Fund Quadruples, Enabling More Assistance to Be Offered to More Lehigh Valley Homeowners
The Bosch Group, a leading technology and services company with a major facility and over 700 employees in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, has contributed $100,000 to the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley to expand the local effort to assist Lehigh Valley homeowners whose homes were damaged by “Superstorm” Sandy. Moreover, Catholic Charities joined the partnership, bringing another $20,000 to the relief effort. The task force of local organization that raised funds and recruited volunteers to assist victims of the storm announced the expanded relief effort at a press conference that was held at the south Bethlehem home of Pierre Morgan, whose home is one of those that will be repaired.
Dubbed “Stand Up to Sandy,” the two new contributions will quadruple the relief effort that was announced on November 14. A task force raised $40,000 and, with a small army of volunteers and paid contractors, began providing up to $1,000 in assistance and repairs to the homes of homeowners who are elderly or disabled. The maximum household income of those homeowners was set at double the poverty rate. For example, a single resident must have an income below $22,340, a household of two below $30,260, and a household of three below $38,180.
At the news conference, Lehigh Valley residents were updated on the work done to date. Harold Black, a volunteer with the Community Action Lehigh Valley, which is coordinating the project, reported that 70 inquiries were received and that 20 fit into the original program guidelines at a cost of approximately $20,000.
That effort was given a major boost with the addition of the new funds, which enabled organizers to serve more people and with new approaches. Organizers announced the following changes:
- Any owner-occupied home is eligible for assistance if the total household income is roughly less than double the poverty rate (previously, only seniors and disabled heads of households were eligible);
- The group will assist those who have homeowners’ insurance by paying the deductible to the company doing the repairs (previously, the program was limited to those lacking homeowners’ insurance);
- At the discretion of the group, more than $1,000 in repair work can be authorized.
In making the announcement, Manfred Hahn, who represented Bosch and is Vice President and General Manager of Bosch Rexroth here in the Lehigh Valley, said, “Our employees were affected by the storm, as were their friends and neighbors Supporting our communities in personal, practical and impactful ways is a Bosch value. We’re proud to do our part to help affected communities repair, rebuild and renew.
Susan Gilmore, President of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, touted the extraordinary partnership that “stood up to Sandy,” adding, “This community has shown, over and over again, that we are best when we all work together to tackle a common agenda. Whether it has been the leadership of volunteer Hal Black, Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands of the Lehigh Valley, Alan Kunsman Roofing, donors including the Northampton County General Purpose Authority, Bill Hecht, the Lehigh Valley Labor Council, ESSA Bank, Catholic Charities, or Bosch, this community has demonstrated, once again, that we take care of our own.”
Also announced today was that HMK Insurance Agency, the region’s largest independent agency, will be available to provide advice to consumers receiving assistance from Standing Up to Sandy to ensure they receive the proper benefits from their insurer. HMK’s Maureen O’Meara noted that the complexity of policies and the regulations that govern them, as well as the bureaucracies of the companies, can be a special challenge for consumers. “We know the system, we know the rules, we know the companies, and we know our community,” O’Meara said, adding, “And we are prepared to add our expertise to the arguments Sandy’s victims need to make.”
Pierre Morgan whose home in south Bethlehem sustained considerable damage due to the storm, thanked the group for their help.
Those who think they might be eligible for assistance are encouraged to contact the Community Action Lehigh Valley at 610-691-5620 between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM.
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