Reading Hospital CORE program volunteers at Helping Harvest.
Reading Hospital employees participating in the CORE program at Helping Harvest. 

Reading Hospital employees will again be able to volunteer during their workday thanks to the return of the popular Community Outreach and Engagement (CORE) program.

Relaunched in July 2023, CORE encourages employees to participate in hospital-coordinated volunteer events at local non-profits and organizations. Employees can sign up to volunteer during their workday once per calendar year – offering a "win-win" for employees and the community.

CORE is an initiative of Reading Hospital Community Wellness, Be Well Berks, whose mission is to strengthen Berks County's health and wellness by building partnerships, and investing in the community through thoughtful leadership.

Desha Dickson, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Community Wellness, created the CORE program in 2012. It was inspired by employees who expressed a desire to become more involved in the community but were challenged by a lack of time.

“We understand the struggle for time when it comes to volunteerism, so we want to ensure that our employees have the opportunity to engage with the communities we serve outside of the hospital setting,” she said. "We are excited to revive this program and give back to our community. Many of the organizations involved in CORE are partnered with the hospital in numerous ways because we all believe that we are stronger when we work together.”

Today, employees can choose from a variety of CORE volunteer events, such as:

The Reading Hospital CORE program supports meaningful community engagement through various outreach programs, sponsorships, in-kind donations, and volunteering. The program will continue to add new volunteer opportunities for employees throughout the holiday season. Organizations interested in learning more about partnerships with Reading Hospital for CORE can email

“Volunteering with CORE was a meaningful experience for me in many ways,” said Katherine Pendergast, an employee at Reading Hospital who previously volunteered at Safe Berks. “It felt gratifying to work alongside and connect with coworkers, most of whom I had never met before. It was powerful to offer a helping hand to Safe Berks and the people that provide life-changing services to our community.”

"Our community has so many wonderful organizations,” said Charles F. Barbera, MD, president and CEO of Reading Hospital. “It is a pleasure to support these important organizations while offering our employees the opportunity to interact with new people and to engage with local businesses and organizations. Our employees at Reading Hospital are some of the most caring and thoughtful people. We are excited to help make our community the best that it can be.”


About Reading Hospital

Reading Hospital is the flagship, Magnet Recognized, acute care hospital of Tower Health. Located in West Reading, Pa., Reading Hospital is a 697-bed hospital that is home to many top-tier specialty care centers, including Reading HealthPlex, McGlinn Cancer Institute, Miller Regional Heart Center, Emergency Department, Level I Trauma Center and Beginnings Maternity Center, which houses the region's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With more than 1,000 physicians, specialists, and advanced practice providers across 49 locations, Reading Hospital has been recognized for its quality outcomes and clinical expertise across services lines. It is listed as one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for four consecutive years (and moving up to America’s 50 Best Hospitals in 2022) and received a 5-Star Rating from CMS two years in a row. For more information, visit

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