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County awards $900K in relief funds

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County commissioners on Thursday awarded $900,000 of the county’s $44 million in federal stimulus money to two organizations that provide food and other support to low-income residents.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley received $600,000, which it will use to fund several initiatives developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will help fund 35 nonprofit agencies providing emergency services such as food and shelter, Roxanne Sebest, director of resource developmen, said.

One way that United Way has been helping is the “Satur-Day of Caring,” every third Saturday of the month when agencies prepare bags of food and other essentials to deliver to households, especially to people who were unable to leave their homes because of the virus.

“We will be able to continue to do it a couple of years and serve more people” because of the funding the commissioners are providing, Sebest said.

The funding also will be used to continue to fill food pantries at schools for children in pre-kindergarten to fourth grade.

United Way also provides food gift cards through the schools for families in need, Sebest said.

The funding also will enable United Way to continue to provide books to children through its Imagination Library program that provides books to children from birth to age 5. All Mahoning County children up to age 5 are eligible to enroll, according to the United Way website.

Also, the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley was allocated $300,000 to provide the food to serve 1.8 million meals over two years.

Second Harvest provides the food to 47 food pantries in Mahoning County.

In other business, the commissioners awarded a contract of $1,687,300 to Boak & Sons Inc. of Austintown for roof replacements at the Meander, Campbell, Craig Beach and New Middletown wastewater treatment plants.

The $900,000 was part of the $2 milllion the commissioners set aside June 4. At the time, Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said the $2 million was for unspecified urgent projects that had come to the commissioners’ attention.

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