Pantries get Greater Pike grants as more COVID-19 relief becomes available

Milford. Food pantries, emergency relief programs, and other community resources are eligible for grants from the Greater Pike Foundation, which has just awarded funds to four local pantries. In announcing that he has COVID-19, Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker said he "literally felt like a Mack Truck had hit me." Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen in Pennsylvania starting May 1. Milford Borough Mayor Sean Strub encourages residents to observe “Bells Across Pennsylvania Day” on Sunday to honor first responders, healthcare workers, and employees of grocery stores, pharmacies, and other life-sustaining businesses on the COVID-18 front lines.

29 Apr 2020 | 03:40

COVID-19 relief grant applications are now open

The Greater Pike Covid Relief Fund is now accepting grant applications from local nonprofit and government organizations seeking support for their efforts in helping those harmed by the COVID-19 epidemic. Food pantries, emergency relief programs, health and social services, and other community resources are eligible for grants. To apply, visit the Greater Pike Community Foundation’s website at Nonprofit representatives may contact Maryanne Monte at for more information. Grant applications will be considered on a rolling basis so it is recommended that applicants do not delay.

Food pantries get grants

The Greater Pike Community Foundation is granting four of Pike County’s food pantries $2,000 each to help them help those suffering from the effect of the crisis.

Grants from the Greater Pike Covid Relief Fund (GPCRF) were awarded to the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Milford, the Good Cheer Food Pantry at St. Luke’s in Greeley, the Holy Trinity Food Pantry in Dingmans Ferry and the St. Ann’s Bridgepoint Food Pantry in Shohola.

“We used to serve forty families," said Director Nancy Potter, director at the Ecumenical Food Pantry. "Now it’s up to 70. Twenty new people signed up in the last two weeks alone.”

Barbara Hupfer at Holy Trinity Food Pantry said she is seeing one new family every day, even as supplies run low and prices rise. “We used to see two to three families a month,” she said.

To donate to the fund, visit, or send a check payable to GPCF-GPCRF. Mail to Greater Pike Community Foundation, P.O. Box 992, Milford, PA 18337.

Port Jervis mayor diagnosed with COVID-19

The mayor of Port Jervis, Kelly B. Decker, announced on April 28 that he was diagnosed positive with COVID-19.

"So how did it happen? Who knows," he posted on Facebook. "How do you get a cold even why you try to avoid it? It happens. We wash our hands senselessly, wear masks at the stores, kept our social distances. As the virus progressed and more warnings of ways to protect came out, we followed them...but it happens."

He said his symptoms started with a cough, which he thought was his usual spring allergies. But then he also developed a low-grade fever, headache, sweats, loss of sense and smell, and "pain all over." He was treated and tested "by a wonderful, fantastic, and professional group of people" at Bon Secours Hospital. "I literally felt like a Mack Truck had hit me when it came to muscle aches."

"Please protect yourself and your family as best as you can," he wrote. "Please be sure to rest, rehydrate, social distance, wear a face covering and wash your hands to help minimize this from happening to you."

In Pike County, 369 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 19 have died from COVID-19 as of April 29. In Orange County, N.Y., 8,488 people have tested positive and 236 have died.

Outdoor recreation to reopen May 1

Starting Friday, May 1, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen in Pennsylvania, as long as they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Campgrounds in state parks will remain closed through Thursday, May 14.

The CDC guidelines say people should recreate close to home, avoid crowding popular destinations, practice social distancing (maintain the recommended minimum of 6 feet apart from fellow recreationists, wear a face mask. They should only go out if they feel healthy and have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and create a safety plan before heading outdoors.

"As the weather warms and daylight lengthens, enjoying time outdoors is an important way to manage stress,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “As we start to take measured, limited steps to reopen our commonwealth, reopening these industries will help to rebuild our economy and strengthen our mental health.”

According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half (45 percent) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19 with the burden likely to continue even as the pandemic’s threat diminishes.

Sunday is Bells Across Pennsylvania Day

Milford Borough Mayor Sean Strub has issued a proclamation in support of “Bells Across Pennsylvania Day,” an initiative of the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association that will take place this Sunday, May 3.

The day will honor first responders, healthcare workers, and employees of grocery stores, pharmacies, and other life-sustaining businesses who have maintained essential services while at risk of infection from COVID-19; show solidarity with elected officials and residents of municipalities across the commonwealth fighting on the frontlines together; and demonstrate a collective resolve that Pennsylvanians will prevail over COVID-19 and work tirelessly to ensure that their businesses and civic life will thrive once again.

Mayors and other elected officials are being encouraged to hold whatever events “sheltering in place” will allow. Then at 7 p.m., all Pennsylvanians and churches will be encouraged to ring bells for three minutes – one minute for each of the above purposes.

“Recognizing our first responders, healthcare workers and retail employees who put themselves at work to protect us and continue life-sustaining businesses is important to the greater Milford community," Strub said. "Bells Across Pennsylvania Day” is a way for us to collectively acknowledge and express our appreciation for their sacrifice. I encourage everyone in Pike County to participate.”