November 1, 2018

Giving Back Spotlight: Playworks

Giving Back Spotlight: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

As the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank says, “Food changes everything.” In their organization, that change means 34 million meals distributed and 110,000 people served each month. It means 8 million pounds of produce given to people in need. It means 4,700 volunteers contributing over 61,000 hours of service.

The face of hunger might surprise you. Sometimes it’s parents choosing between paying bills or feeding their family. Sometimes it’s a dad not getting his prescription medication so that his kids can eat. About 13 million families in the United States experience childhood hunger. That’s a staggering number, but the good news is there are ways to help.

Working with Josh Bell and the Food Bank

Josh Bell and the Food Bank

Children who don’t get enough of the right kinds of food to eat are at a greater risk of health complications and behavioral conditions like ADHD. Hunger also affects kids’ ability to learn and participate in school. They are at a greater risk of:

  • Experiencing developmental delays
  • Repeating a grade in elementary school
  • Chronic health conditions like asthma
  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • And more

We recently teamed up with baseball star Josh Bell to help raise awareness about the impact of childhood hunger and the important ways that the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is helping to combat the problem. Some of their programs include:

  • Backpack programs to help feed kids on the weekends
  • Providing fresh fruits and vegetables to local families
  • A mobile grocer that travels to communities in need in order to eliminate food inequity
  • Summer food programs that provide free meals to kids 18 and under

They can also help people set up their own food pantries and programs. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out their website.

Working with Josh Harrison and the Food Bank

Josh Harrison and the Food Bank

We first joined forces with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank alongside former Pittsburgh baseball player Josh Harrison. We encouraged local organizations to launch their own food drives—which is easier than you think. The Food Bank’s website has five easy steps explaining how to organize your own food drive to help neighbors in need.

Josh was also heavily involved with the Food Bank’s Backpack Feeding Program. It sends healthy food home with students on the weekends and was created after a Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher contacted the Food Bank to ask for assistance for her students. She said that many of them would become anxious on Fridays—worried about facing a weekend without enough food at home.

“Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children. Backpacks will not solve childhood hunger, but they will provide immediate relief for children and families,” said Lisa Scales, the Food Bank’s Chief Executive Officer.

Getting Involved

There are a number of ways you can get involved with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and even kids can take part (they must be over 12 years of age and accompanied by a parent or guardian). You can donate, participate in events, host food drives, volunteer, and more. You can learn more on their website.

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