Bethel Park-based SHIM now is South Hills Interfaith Movement - SHIM

Something is always happening at SHIM

Bethel Park-based SHIM now is South Hills Interfaith Movement

The Almanac – Last year, South Hills Interfaith Ministries served more than 4,000 people.

“We need to double our impact,” executive director Jim Guffey said, immediately repeating the statement to double its impact.

He spoke to an audience filling SHIM’s Bethel Park headquarters Feb. 3 to learn about what the organization has in store, including changing its name and website.

SHIM now stands for South Hills Interfaith Movement, and it can be found online at, both reflecting a commitment to more thoroughly address its mission of providing for local residents.

“The reality is that we estimate there are a total of 9,000 people in just this area of the South Hills that we serve who are eligible and in need of the kind of help that we offer,” the Rev. Kris McInnes, chairman of SHIM’s board, said.

We’ve spent enough time seeing how things have actually gotten worse in our communities,” the priest-in-charge at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Peters Township continued. “We are at a place where we are ready and equipped and looking to redouble our efforts here in the South Hills, and to grow and to expand.”

Helping with those efforts are baseball great Sean Casey and his wife, Mandi, Upper St. Clair residents who are donating a $25,000 matching grant through the Casey Family Foundation.

“One thing we realize is that there’s a lot of suburban poverty,” Sean Casey said. “You wouldn’t think it with a lot of the affluent communities we have in the South Hills.”

He and family members also have contributed to the cause with such activities as working in SHIM’s gardens, which in turn provide fresh produce for the organization’s food pantries.

“We feel that we’re part of this community and that we should help out the needy as much as we can,” Casey said.

Along with the name and website changes, Guffey announced that SHIM is adding another food pantry to its two existing ones, at Baldwin United Presbyterian Church, and will start a new garden, at Whitehall Presbyterian Church.

Also, SHIM’s clothing room at Bethel Park is to be expanded to help fill needs in that regard.

The organization was founded 48 years ago by a rabbi, priest and minister, hence the “Interfaith” part of the name.

Sean and Mandi Casey

Sean and Mandi Casey have made a significant matching-fund donation to SHIM.

“We have noticed, unfortunately, over those years, the need increasing instead of decreasing in our services,” the Rev. McInnes, priest-in-charge of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Peters Township, explained. And particularly in the last 10 years, we have spent a lot of energy and time really expanding and digging into the social services and to providing for the needs of our community members who are most at risk and most vulnerable.”

Also speaking Feb. 3 was Mary Phan-Gruber, executive director of the Jefferson Regional Foundation, which works closely with SHIM and has the similar goal of improving socioeconomic conditions.

“This is an interesting community here in the South Hills, where there are needs, but they tend to be hidden in the shadows,” she said. “It’s not the kind of community where it’s easily seen or where people can easily access resources. And so agencies like SHIM are really essential to the overall health and well-being of our region, and really critical.”

Read the full story here.

Translate »