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Food Bank Gives Hunger Awareness Awards

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Champions in the Fight Against Hunger to be Honored at Luncheon

Pittsburgh, PA (May 20, 2013) - Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is pleased to announce the winners of the Hunger Awareness Day Awards for 2013. These winners are chosen from nominations submitted by the community, and all have given extraordinary service to the Food Bank and the cause of fighting hunger. Their awards will be presented at the Hunger Awareness Day Luncheon from 11 am – 1 pm on Tuesday, June 4, at the Lexus Club at PNC Park. KDKA-TV2 news anchor Ken Rice will be the master of ceremonies.

Hunger Awareness Day is held in June to draw attention to children facing hunger in the summer when school breakfast and lunch programs are not available and struggling parents have to provide more meals. This year is especially important as Congress works to reauthorize the federal Farm Bill, which includes SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - formerly known as Food Stamps). Half of all SNAP benefit recipients are children.

The Hunger Awareness Day Award winners for 2013 are:

Stephen & Melissa Neely have hosted The Big Soup Party for 20 years. A winter evening of homemade soup with friends has grown into a family tradition that regularly sees more than 200 visitors. The Big Soup Party celebrates food and friends, acknowledges their good fortune for having both, and asks guests to remember those who don’t by leaving one soup bowl empty for donations to the Food Bank. With much conviction and not much fanfare, they have raised nearly $20,000 (since the Food Bank began keeping a record in 2003).

Among the Food Bank’s many corporate friends and supporters, Peoples Natural Gas stands out as one of the most dedicated to the Food Bank’s mission. Their contributions include sustaining corporate and foundational operating support, employee volunteerism, title sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Blues Festival and the new Peoples Gas Holiday Market. Peoples Natural Gas continues to open doors and present amazing opportunities to the Food Bank.

Richard Montgomery, known at the Food Bank as Monty, is a retired steel worker who began volunteering six years ago, and since then has logged over 4,000 volunteer hours. He started sorting food at the warehouse, but quickly added hours and willing hands to special events, weather assemblies and Produce to People distributions. Montgomery’s cheerful demeanor and camaraderie, willingness to take on any job and his genuine passion for the cause make him a mentor and leader to all volunteers, a true Food Bank ambassador.

Gary Rotstein and Chris Rawson have been the driving force and the creative genius behind the annual "Off the Record" musical revue at the Byham Theater that benefits the Food Bank. This satire of all things Pittsburgh has used the power of humor to make a difference in the very serious problem of hunger, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Food Bank. Approaching its 13th year, "Off the Record" has introduced and promoted the Food Bank’s mission to a critical "mover-and-shaker" community that includes hundreds of public figures from the arts, the press, local governments and the business sector.

Since 2008 when he worked in the Beaver Area School District, Ryan Wilson, now Area General Manager of Western Pennsylvania Educational Services at Sodexo has been instrumental in creating and supporting numerous backpack and summer food programs, securing grants and expanding feeding sites in Beaver County. He also supports other agencies through the Food Bank’s Community Table Program. His efforts have provided more than 55,000 meals to children in Beaver County.

Barb Gallagher of WPXI, currently the Food Bank’s main television sponsor, is far more than the Food Bank’s "sales rep." Through her efforts, WPXI has long surpassed the role of contractual media partner to the Food Bank and truly embraced the cause of hunger. She continually finds new ways for WPXI to highlight the Food Bank and make many new friends and significant connections, from a telethon sponsor to weather assemblies to scoring a Tom Cruise autographed bowl for Empty Bowls. This award recognizes the gold standard of her personal service and the continuing support of everyone at WPXI.

The Food Bank congratulates all of this year’s winners, and once again expresses its gratitude to all of its supporters. Hunger Awareness Day is a celebration of all the people, organizations, schools, corporations and others who have taken action against hunger in our community.

The public is invited to attend the Awards Luncheon. Tickets are $20 and are available on the Food Bank’s website: The media is also invited to the event. Award presentation begins after lunch has been served, around noon.