Southwestern Pennsylvania has always been a community that steps up to helps its neighbors. Despite the ongoing pandemic, so many people have continued to rise to the challenge and do whatever they can to ensure that food is not something our neighbors have to worry about today or tomorrow. With Thanksgiving just days away, I’ve been reflecting on the things I’m grateful for and the people who make our community a healthier and happier home. And I would like to take this moment to thank each of you.
Our partner network: You have never wavered. You did what was necessary to continue to serve and sometimes even increasing your programming to meet the needs of your community. We couldn’t provide meals across the 11 counties we serve without you. Your partnership made possible a 12.5 percent increase in meals distributed since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 850 pantries, partners and programs are a part of our network now – and many of you have been doing this important work for years. Thank you.
School staff: In schools across every one of our communities, you, our food service staff, janitors, teachers and school administrators have continuously stepped up your efforts to ensure that all students can access the food they need. School meals are a critical way to ensure students have the nutrition they need to be successful, and you have gone above and beyond to ensure no child misses a meal. Thank you.
The people we serve: I’m thankful that for more than 40 years, you have continued to trust us to serve you. I’m inspired daily by your resilience and the stories that you’ve shared with me. You have picked up food for your neighbors, came to a distribution on behalf of your students and used the food you get to make meals for your neighbors who can’t cook. You are the reason we push ourselves to serve the community to the best of our abilities. Thank you.
Food Bank staff: Food Bankers, you have a heart for our community. I’m not surprised but I am continuously in awe of the ways you give 110 percent every day to ensure that our neighbors have consistent access to the food they need. Throughout the pandemic, you did everything that was asked of you and then some – at times filling roles outside your own or stepping up to help prepare for distributions when needed. Because of your dedication and innovation, we’ve launched several new programs over the past year that have allowed us to serve people safely and efficiently. Thank you.
The community: Last, but certainly not least I’m thankful for you – our community members who help us purchase, prepare and distribute food and provide other resources to the community.
Whether you are an individual, business, grant-maker or elected official advocating for hunger-relief programs, your contributions make a huge impact across the region. With every dollar donated we’re able to provide up to five meals to the community.
The volunteers who participate in our programs both at our Volunteer Engagement Center and out in the community are some of the most committed I’ve seen. You dedicate hours to helping us pack boxes of food on our assembly line, harvest produce through gleaning events and filling our neighbors’ cars with nutrition and hope for a better tomorrow. You also work behind the scenes completing administrative tasks AND helping neighbors complete SNAP applications. All of these efforts make a measurable difference. Thank you.
Thank YOU for all you continue to do to help our neighbors facing hunger. On behalf of every member of our Food Bank community, here’s to wishing you a holiday season filled with warmth and happiness.