Chris Barrett – Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

March 21, 2021

From the moment he took the helm at the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau in 2017, the bureau’s President/CEO Chris Barrett recognized the awesome responsibility each of us has to our community and our neighbors. Nowhere is that more evident than in the ways the PMVB and Chris have aided the most vulnerable in the community through partnerships with Pocono Mountains United Way (PMUW).

Barrett serves on PMUW’s Board of Directors because it is his belief the best way to serve others is to provide a hand up, not a handout. Many of the programs run through the funding received at PMUW have a direct impact on people’s lives, and Barrett is a strong believer in pulling together as many resources and various stakeholders as possible to provide the best chance for success. That belief is no more evident than in the partnerships forged to make a difference in the lives of those facing homelessness started in the summer of 2019.

Pocono Community Caring Company brought together the Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority, Street 2 Feet, Pocono Mountains United Way and PMVB to provide day wage jobs for men and women willing to help pick litter throughout the region. Pocono 3C, as it is also called, was a success in its first half year providing several people with enough experience to obtain full time employment and housing, not to mention thousands of bags of garbage removed from area roadways.

When the pandemic hit, Pocono 3C was put on pause and then reinitiated in early 2021. In March of 2020, Barrett also helped rally the troops to develop the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. This effort proved invaluable to those who face the initial impact of job losses and a severe economic downturn.

Later in 2020, there was another opportunity to band together to help provide financial assistance to those hit hard by the pandemic especially those in the hospitality and restaurant industries. PMVB helped kickstart the fundraising efforts for the Hospitality and Restaurant Worker Relief Fund at the end of 2020 at the height of the holiday season when many workers were unable to work due to COVID-19 restrictions placed on restaurants. PMVB spearheaded the effort to spread awareness for the fund and seeded $50,000 for the kickoff of the fund drive. Hundreds of men and women were able to receive mini grants during the holiday season thanks to the fund and the partnerships Barrett and others formed.

As the region continues to recover and find ways to improve life for everyone including the most vulnerable, staying vigilant with respect to the amazing work done by the people at PMUW is paramount. No amount is too small to help aid in the efforts to provide for those in need and PMUW is extremely adept at delivering thanks to its leadership and team work ethic. Without the generosity of the Poconos community, PMUW cannot succeed in its mission to help in times of crisis or times of substantial need.

“Teaming up with Pocono Mountains United Way has led to significant strides in how we help our fellow man, woman and child,” said Barrett. “It’s a humbling task to undertake but we must as members of a resilient community which provides hospitality and an escape for millions every year. We are grateful for the great work done by PMUW and ask everyone to consider giving to such a worthy cause.”

To get involved and support Pocono Mountains United Way’s work in Monroe County, please visit https://poconounitedway.org/get-involved/.

To learn about Pocono Community Caring Company, please visit https://www.poconomountains.com/pick-up-the-poconos/pocono-3c/.