Assistance comes to some businesses at Reading Terminal Market

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- More than a dozen Reading Terminal Market vendors received $3,000 forgivable loans from a Pennsylvania non-profit on Wednesday.

The loan came from the PA 30 Day Fund. Hershel's East Side Deli was among the recipients.

"We are so fortunate just to be holding on," said deli owner Steven Safern.

Safern explained how close to closing it has been for Market businesses with the drastic drop in visitors.

"Fortunately, we've had only a few merchants go out, but everyone is teetering on not existing," Safern said.

SEE ALSO: Reading Terminal Market gets big boost from Barstool Sports, Penn National Gaming

Annie Allman, the General Manager of Reading Terminal Market, said these funds are sorely needed.

"These folks just took it on the chin, and they stayed open as much as possible to serve Philadelphia," Allman said.

PA 30 Day Fund co-founder Jeff Bartos spoke to Action News.

"It's very important, I think, that to show in the midst of so much negativity out there, Pennsylvanians truly have each other's backs," Bartos said.

Bartos explained that since May, the non-profit has raised close to $3.4 million and helped more than 1,000 businesses across Pennsylvania.

The non-profit pledged $100,000 for eligible businesses in the Market.

"We certainly don't tell anyone what to do with the money, but what we hear from the small businesses owners, is it goes to employment, it goes to rent, and it goes to benefits," Bartos said.
Last fall, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign launched to help keep the historic market afloat, touching off some larger donations, including this pledge.

SEE ALSO: Reading Terminal Market launches crowdfunding campaign to stay open, thriving amid COVID-19
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It may seem hard to imagine, but like other businesses, it too has fallen on tough times during this pandemic.

Silvia Lucci, an owner of LUHV Vegan Deli, emphasized how crucial the funds are.

"These are all unities of families, and we got hit really bad, I don't think anyone was prepared for the length of the hit," Lucci said.

She added, "It's exciting, it's just the gesture to know somebody is thinking of us."

If at a later date businesses wish to "pay it forward," they can direct the money back to the fund, which will disburse the assistance to another business in need.
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