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Emergency funding helps summer program stay afloat
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Emergency funding helps summer program stay afloat


Keeping a children’s camp running this summer during a pandemic can be a costly venture.

For the Summer Program for Youth, the cost of COVID-related expenses was more than $20,000. Some of those costs, however, were covered by the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County’s Carlisle Area Emergency Response Fund. The funding helped pay for an additional camp counselor and personal protective equipment.

But more than just money, the fund’s committee also helped as volunteers.

According to the United Way, 22 volunteers are needed per day to help run SPY by helping prepare food, delivering food, greeting campers, providing activities, reading, cleaning and supporting camp staff. And unlike previous years at one location, the camp provides activities at four locations simultaneously for groups of 15 to 20 children.

“Without the support of United Way, it would have been nearly impossible to run our program properly,” said Jeanna Som, the part-time director of SPY.

One of the volunteers was Dave Park, a member of the response fund committee and United Way board, who used his lunch break to visit SPY campers at New Life Community Church, reading to them while practicing social distancing.

“It’s one thing to fund a program based on the need expressed in their application, and it’s another experience to see first-hand how so many children are getting to keep their minds and bodies active during the summer because of a program we helped to fund,” he said. “We also know how vital this program is for parents to maintain their employment to support their family.”

In addition to allocations from the response fund, SPY also receives funding on an annual basis from the United Way’s annual campaign and Evening for the Children Gala to cover the costs of camp counselors and other program materials.

Those interested in donating to the response fund can donate online at or make checks payable to United Way with “Emergency Fund” in the memo line and mail to United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, 145 S. Hanover St., Carlisle PA 17013.

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