OSWEGO — Mayor Billy Barlow announced that the city of Oswego is using $40,000 in funding from the American Rescue Plan to issue COVID-19 recovery grants to community organizations in the city.

The organizations include the Oswego Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5885, Oswego Elks Lodge #271, Oswego Moose Lodge #743 and the Oswego American Legion Post #268. Each lodge will receive a $10,000 grant to help recover from revenue losses, re-opening costs and building improvements associated with the pandemic.

“Community organizations like the VFW, Moose Club, Elks and American Legion do so much for our city, but particularly for our local military veterans, and often at a time when they need support the most and have nowhere else to turn,” said Mayor Billy Barlow. “These organizations are more than bars or clubs; they provide sanctuary to our veterans and contribute to our community in ways many of us will never even know or understand. I’m proud to award $10,000 in grant funding to each of these organizations to help weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue offering the services our community, but particularly our veterans, rely on,” Barlow said.

Community organizations such as veteran’s halls and other lodges were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, nation-wide, as their revenues rely on mostly bar sales, various fundraisers, facility rental fees, bingo and other events that were prohibited during the pandemic or significantly restricted. Some restrictions continue to remain in place.

Alan Wood, Quartermaster of Oswego VFW Post 5885 said, “On behalf of the VFW Post 5885, we really appreciate this grant and what Mayor Barlow and the city of Oswego is doing to help the community. We truly needed the help and will certainly put it to good use.”

“For over 125 years, Oswego Lodge #271 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America has been an active part of our community. The Membership is proud to provide service to our veterans, youth, and all of those in need. We greatly appreciate Mayor Barlow and the city of Oswego for their assistance in our charitable causes during these difficult times,” said Vickie Rowe, Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge #271.

Third Ward Councilor Kevin Hill said, “These organizations serve a huge need in the community and it is important for the city to step up to ensure these organizations survive the pandemic and are around for many years to come. On behalf of the Oswego Common Council, I am honored to work with Mayor Barlow to allocate this funding and look forward to seeing the good that comes of it.”

To be eligible for funding, organizations had to clearly demonstrate a loss of revenue due directly to COVID-19 and own or maintain a building in the city of Oswego. The city of Oswego received $1.89 million as part of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan relief package. In addition to $40,000 for community organizations, Mayor Barlow previously announced $275,000 in COVID-19 business loan relief, $150,000 in grants to support for small businesses, $175,000 for essential pay for city employees.

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