Tired of watching Netflix and eager to help the community during the pandemic, incoming Mt. Lebanon High School freshman Ali Pellegrino and her mom, Paula, turned volunteering with SHIM into a mother-daughter bonding experience.
The Pellegrinos have long supported SHIM through Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park. Paula recognizes the importance of instilling the spirit of volunteerism in her children. “I like our teens to step outside of their ‘bubble’ and ensure that they really see the needs of our community,” she said. As the pandemic changed the nature of volunteering, the family was having trouble finding ways to help the community. When they heard about SHIM’s Drive-Up Food Distribution on June 20, they knew it was the perfect (and safest) opportunity for them.
SHIM operates three food pantries in the South Hills, all of which are open with special safety measures. With the heightened need for food during the pandemic, the mass food distribution proved to be another important way to serve our many neighbors in need. SHIM partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for a drive-thru distribution on June 20 at Bethel Park High School. Ali, Paula and other volunteers safely loaded boxes of dry goods, frozen foods and fresh produce into the trunks of the more than 500 vehicles in attendance.
Ali says she didn’t realize the magnitude of SHIM’s impact on her community and felt honored to take part in helping those in need. “I left the distribution knowing that I helped people and made their day. It felt good to give the community a boost,” she added. Paula echoed this warmth, stating “There was such a feeling of community and caring connectedness with not only the volunteers but those we served. My daughter felt this connection and we left feeling such a sense of accomplishment and peace after our experience.”
SHIM is so grateful to Ali and Paula for helping to keep our South Hills community strong. If you’d like to join the movement, learn more about volunteering with SHIM.