EASTON, Pa. - The Boys and Girls Club of Easton was able give their members a little extra holiday cheer thanks to money from the United Way that was distributed through the African American Coalition of Easton, a new resource for Black-owned organizations in the area.

"We felt it was good to be able to put those funds to use to help sustain the families," said Dean Young, the executive director.

The coalition or AACE was founded after The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley approached community leaders like Judith Dickerson about the best ways to get grant money into the hands of people that need it most.

"I commend The United Way for seeing and recognizing what has existed historically and to begin to reach out and bring more people into the community in terms of living and having a quality lifestyle," Dickerson said.

In addition to distributing grants to worthy Easton-area organizations, AACE has also created a website and plans to develop an app and online community calendar to go along with it.

"The COVID-19 pandemic actually raised up and made people more aware of the racial inequities," Dickerson said.

Young said the grant money was used to buy practical but protective gifts: masks, hats, and blankets.

The coalition is currently accepting applications from other businesses and organizations who can put the money to good use.

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