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United Way announces $1.4 million in awards

Grandview Parks and Rec programs and local food banks were just some of the 73 recipients of grants awarded last week by United Way of Central Washington.

A total of $1.4 million in grants were awarded to groups in Yakima and Kittitas County.

"As we continue to see an increase in demand for basic services, we felt our grant-making focus this year should be on maintaining core services that help stabilize families and individuals during these tough times," said Allen Cottle, board chair of United Way of Central Washington.

A total of 82 community volunteers participated on nine review teams, which screened and evaluated over $1.65 million in requests.

Recipients in the Lower Valley included the Sunnyside-based Lower Valley Crisis and Support Services, which received grants totalling $50,000 for services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Merit Resource Services, which also has a Sunnyside office, garnered $26,100 for family outpatient treatment. The Mabton Food Bank and Sunnyside Ministerial Food Bank received $8,180 and $9,790, respectively.

The Granger Community Fund received just under $3,000 for youth sports programs.

Money for youth recreation and programs for seniors and the disabled were also garnered by the Grandview Parks and Recreation Department. Mike Carpenter heads up the Park and Rec programs, and said the $14,530 Grandview received accounts for about 9 percent of the city's total parks and recreation budget.

The money, says Carpenter, will be used to subsidize programs such as the Grand Hoops Fiesta 3-on-3 basketball tourney, an aquatic program for disabled adults and the Parade of Hearts dance at the Senior Center.

"It enables us to make our programs more accessible and affordable," Carpenter said. "We couldn't do it without them," he said of the United Way. "It offsets some of our costs, otherwise we'd be looking at reducing services or finding another revenue source."

Other Yakima Valley recipients included $110,000 for the local chapter of the American Red Cross and $25,780 for Provident Horizon.

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