The Almanac – For many people, Saturday mornings represent a time for relaxing after a busy week.
Then there are the folks who spent a couple of hours Feb. 22 scooping, bagging and boxing beans, rice and other healthy, nonperishable foods for the South Hills Interfaith Movement food pantries.
“Over the years, we’ve realized that families are very, very eager to volunteer, as a family,” said Seth Dubin, SHIM director of development. “So we’ve hosted a lot of these packing opportunities outside of normal business hours.”
The activity at SHIM’s main location in Bethel Park involves measuring family-sized portions of bulk-purchased items.
“It’s a really exciting time to get your kids involved and have them come to the pantry,” Dubin said. “Many times, it’s the first time for them to get to understand what SHIM is all about, neighbors helping neighbors. It really exemplifies that.”
Each month, more than 1,800 neighbors – 35% of them are children – make use of the 52-year-old nonprofit’s three food pantries, with the others in Baldwin Borough and Whitehall. Visits to the pantries have doubled since 2015, and the number of meals provided yearly exceeds 417,000.
To help keep the shelves sufficiently stocked, SHIM is launching March to Sack Hunger, Pack Hope, a monthlong campaign to help local families put food on the table and achieve self-sufficiency.
“People struggle in different ways, and the intent is that we bring them and welcome them into SHIM, feed them first and foremost, and then get them connected to other resources to help them get back on their feet,” Dubin said.
Special activities are planned in conjunction with the campaign:
- Sack Hunger Shout Outs, March 7-8. Is your family, school, congregation or group working to help the cause? Share your activities on social media and tag SHIM so we can raise awareness and say thanks for your work.
- Sack Hunger Supper at Chipotle, 5 to 9 p.m. March 14. Visit the restaurant at 1720 Washington Road, Bethel Park, and make sure to mention the campaign to the cashier before paying for your order.
- Sack Hunger Pantry Challenge, March 21-22. Can you make a meal for your family using only a few of the most-needed items from our food pantries? Here’s your shopping list: dried beans or lentils, rice, and canned protein. Create your meal, then share it with us on social media and include #SackHungerPantryChallenge in your post.
- Sack Hunger Street Team, March 28-29. Hit the streets and spread the word about SHIM’s March to Sack Hunger, Pack Hope to wrap up the month. Bring the family and go door-to-door to ask your neighbors for a donation, monetary or nonperishable food items, to reach the goal. According to SHIM, donations amounting to $1,000 help 10 families put food on the table for six months.
For more information, visit shimcares.org/sack-hunger.