One of the amazing things about SHIM is our ability to match those needing help with those providing help. Sometimes, they are the same people. From a food pantry client who gives back by crocheting scarves for our clothing closet, to a client who gives back by picking up rescued food for our food pantries, SHIM is full of people who are so grateful for the help they receive, they want to give it right back!
Bob is a people person and loves to talk to everyone. He joined Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church’s Food Lift program to help transport donated food to nonprofit organizations. Each week he heads to Giant Eagle Market District in Bethel Park and works with Brad, Maria, Dave, and Rick to load donated produce and baked goods. Bob delivers the food to several organizations, including SHIM.
When he began volunteering, Bob was curious to see how SHIM’s food pantry operated. He was a little skeptical at first about how agencies like SHIM determine pantry eligibility. Bob was impressed to see how we collect income and demographic data from participants, adhering to food insecurity assistance guidelines. We never turn away someone in need, but this information helps refer people to our other programs, such as utility assistance and self-sufficiency coaching.
“It’s a very good, very worthwhile thing.”
Bob knows firsthand how food insecurity can affect seniors. His mother began benefiting from SHIM’s food pantries a few months before the pandemic. As a recipient of the Department of Aging programs, she received several services, but was still struggling to get by. When a cleaning aid told her about SHIM, Bob did some research. He realized that his mother was eligible to receive food distributions twice per month.
After helping his mother enroll, Bob felt extremely grateful for our ability to adapt food and personal care offerings to best serve her needs. Because of her gluten allergy, he is thankful that pantry coordinators provided gluten-free products. As food prices rose, she needed assistance with more expensive items, such as meat, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. Receiving pantry distributions twice per month allows her to eat nutritiously within her budget.
“It definitely gives her extra money to meet other needs and to pay the bills.”
We’re thankful for neighbors like Bob who help us get food to those in need.
Want to help? Learn more about the ways you can help your neighbors HERE.