Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

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Feb. 2010 - In This Issue:


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Dear Friend,

After much anticipation, Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2010 study was released on February 2nd. The study consisted of data collected from February through June, 2009. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank participated, conducting face-to-face interviews with people seeking emergency food at food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding programs, as well as interviews with agencies that provide food assistance.

The report documents that more than 37 million people, including 14 million children, received emergency food last year. This means that 1 in every 8 Americans received some kind of emergency food assistance in 2009. The report also states that the 37 million figure represents a 46% increase in the number of people served since their last study was released in 2006.

Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, increased service numbers echo the national trend. The Food Bank served an average 106,377 people each month in 2009, up 5% from 2008. Another alarming statistic is the number of new households served each month, households who have not needed food assistance previously, which averaged 2,500 households every month during 2009.

Nationwide, an estimated 5.7 million people are receiving emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other agency served by one of Feeding America’s more than 200 food banks, including the Pittsburgh Food Bank. This is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in Hunger in America 2006, when the number was 4.5 million people served each week.  

You can read the full report on Feeding America's web site.

With very few local signs of improvement in the economy or employment figures, 2010 will be a challenging year. Midway through our fiscal year, I must also report that we are running slightly short of our fundraising goals, goals that were by necessity set high to deal with the increased need for food assistance. Your financial support is needed to help us keep up with today’s problem of providing food to those who need it. Next month I will report on the Food Bank’s longer range goals, and the exciting new efforts we have initiated to make more strides toward ending hunger in our region.

Joyce Rothermel Signature
Joyce Rothermel
Chief Executive Officer  

p.s. More than $17,000 has been received for the 2010 KD Turkey Fund in honor of KDKA spokesperson and Food Bank friend Yvonne Zanos, who was taken from us by cancer in January. What a fabulous tribute to her legacy!

Dollar Bank Partnership Brings Food Home to Our Community
by Iris Valanti, Director of CommunicationsDollar Bank Olympics Partnership

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and its TV media sponsor WPXI Channel 11 are pleased to announce an exciting upcoming partnership with Dollar Bank to salute American athletes participating in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and help fight hunger right here at the same time.

Now there’s another reason to cheer on the American Olympic athletes! For every medal the U.S. wins in Vancouver, Dollar Bank will donate $500 to the Food Bank, up to $20,000! You can visit during the games to keep up with the medal count. You can also make your own donation to the Food Bank to show that as the American Olympians compete for gold in Vancouver, Americans right in our own neighborhoods who take a stand against hunger are heroes too!

Thanks Dollar Bank and WPXI!

Empty Bowls - The Line
by Iris Valanti, Director of Communications

When was the last time you waited in line? Many people swear they have “bad line karma” – that is, any line they are in is automatically the longest. The folks in front of them need a price-check, the cashier closes her aisle, or the movie sells out just as their turn comes.

How about this for really bad line-karma? You find yourself waiting in line for food.

Somewhere or other in southwestern Pennsylvania, thousands of people line up at food pantries every day because they’re out of work (or they have a job but just don’t make enough money). Or perhaps they’re one of the more than 12,000 children or 6,000 seniors served by the Food Bank’s member food pantries every month in Allegheny County alone. That doesn’t count the soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs, or direct distributions.

The Empty Bowls Dinner, coming up March 7th, asks people to remember their neighbors waiting in line for food assistance. Empty Bowls is a simple meal of bread and soup to raise awareness about our neighbors’ “Empty Bowls” – their struggle with hunger. At Empty Bowls, attendees wait in line for a bowl of soup and some bread. All proceeds of this fundraiser benefit the Food Bank and Just Harvest.

Read full story...

Calendar of Events


February 12 - 14: StrongLand Home Expo Food Drive
This home show at the Pittsburgh Mills mall is asking once again for food donations in lieu of admission fees to help food banks throughout the region!

February 21: 16th Annual Blues for Food
Join Eugene & the Nightcrawlers and all their blues buddies at Domenico's Ristorante in Cranberry for the 16th Annual Blues for Food. Admission: $10.00 - all proceeds benefit the Food Bank!


March 7: Empty Bowls Dinner
It's the 15th Anniversary of Empty Bowls, a simple meal of bread and soup to remind us that some people have "Empty Bowls" every day. You won't want to miss this family favorite event!! Empty Bowls tickets are $20.

March 13: St. Patrick's Day Parade Food Drive
In remembrance of An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger) in Ireland in 1847, The Hibernian Hunger Project and the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee ask you to bring non-perishable items for the Food Bank! 

March 27: 11th Annual D-Jam
Mark your calendar for this rockin’ jammin’ fundraiser at PD's Pub in Squirrel Hill! There are raffles, door prizes, auction items and lots more fun. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank!

Save the Dates:
May 22: Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community
This year's walk talk place in Schenley Park at Flagstaff Hill. Help the hungry by walking for the Food Bank or one of our member agencies! Get your walking shoes ready and stay tuned for registration information.
October 4: GolfS.O.M.E.
Our annual golf outing at Wildwood Golf Club in Allison Park. Email Anne for sponsorship and/or ticket information.
October 7: Off the Record
Those crazy Pittsburgh actors and writers will be at it again, making fun of all things Pittsburgh to benefit the Food Bank. Save the date and look for tickets in August!

Visit our online calendar for details on these and other great events throughout the year! 

Volunteer Spotlight: FedEx Ground
by Alyssa Dolney, Volunteer Coordinator

The next time you ship a package FedEx, you can add a sigh of satisfaction on behalf of the Food Bank as well. FedEx Ground, headquartered in Moon Township, has been a stalwart partner of the Food Bank for many years, both in corporate financial sponsorship and volunteer support.

FedEx Ground is a corporate sponsor of Food Bank special events like Off the Record, Empty Bowls and the Pittsburgh Blues Festival. Corporate underwriting like this makes it possible to hold first class events that draw appreciative audiences, and raise money and awareness for the Food Bank.

At FedEx, which has a total workforce of more than 3,700 people in the Pittsburgh region, volunteerism is strongly encouraged. And FedEx employees who have chosen to volunteer for the Food Bank have taken that philosophy to heart.

Read full story...

Bluesjam Heats Up February & Helps the Hungry

Please join us at Domenico’s Ristorante & Pizzeria on Sunday, February 21st for Blues for Food, an all-day blues blast and food drive to benefit the Food Bank. Every year Eugene Morgan of Eugene & the Nightcrawlers and a bunch of other blues bands heat up a cold February day with a hot bluesjam. This year’s featured guests are Mark Demeno Band, Waldo Young Band, Jill West & Blues Attack, Eugene & the Nightcrawlers, Jimmy Adler Blues Band, and Johnny B & the Accelerators.

Read full story...

Event Updates. . .

The Food Bank’s Valentine's Day Online Auction was a great success, raising nearly $2,000 to help the hungry. Congratulations to all the winning bidders! And many thanks to The Framery in Lawrenceville, who donated several pieces of professionally framed artwork. The Framery also hosted a window auction at their storefront on Butler Street back in November, which raised $750 for the hungry. We are grateful for their partnership and support!!

Time to Make the Bowls: Where do all those "Empty Bowls" come from? Well, several hundred were made by Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA), Carlow University and Sweetwater Center for the Arts at January bowl-making sessions that were open to the public. Thanks to all who participated - check out some photos from these great bowl-making events!

Opportunities to Support the Food Bank

  Valentine's Day Bird (promo image)

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: There is still time to recognize your Valentine with a special donation to the Food Bank in their honor, and send them a personalized eCard! eCards make great last-minute gifts, and you won't need to venture out in the snow to shop - simply donate online!

 2009 Ford Mustang - Yellow with Black Detailing

Buy a Car, Help the Hungry: The Food Bank was the recipient of a very uncommon donation in the form of a 2009 Ford Mustang GT. Ron Giulianelli, Vice President and Market Manager for First National Bank on East Carson Street, inadvertently won the automobile in a fundraising raffle. Being unable to accept the brand new car, Ron and his co-workers decided to donate the car to the Food Bank! And now the car is up for sale to benefit the Food Bank. Imagine, buying a brand new Mustang and helping the hungry, now that is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Please contact Joe at the Food Bank if you are interested in the Mustang.

Vote Graphic Be Counted: Please remember, 2010 is the year of the U.S. Census, the official count of citizens used for the next TEN years. Each state’s number of legislators in the House of Representatives is determined by the Census. Several trillion (that’s right: TRILLION) dollars of government funding, national, state and local, is dispersed based on population figures over a decade. For the Food Bank that’s CSFP, TEFAP, Food Stamp admin costs, State Food Purchase, Community and Development Block Grants, and more. And the people who need this assistance the most are usually the most undercounted. It is vital that each of us cooperate to get the most accurate results possible. Please fill in your Census form and urge your friends and family to do so as well – stand up and be counted!
Penny Jar Opportunity Pennies for Peanut Butter: Looking for a fun & simply fundraiser? Clean out old peanut butter jars (or any jar), collect pennies and other spare change, and donate the funds to the Food Bank.  And now thanks to First Commonwealth Bank, you will not need to count and roll all those coins. Simply visit a First Commonwealth branch with a lobby coin counter machine, dump your change in the coin counter, take the receipt to the teller and deposit the funds in the Food Bank's "Pennies for Peanut Butter" account. Visit our website for more details about the Pennies for Peanut Butter project.

Find us on Facebook

Connect with the Food Bank Online: Join us on the web - become a fan of the Food Bank on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.  We'll keep you updated on the latest Food Bank happenings... and stay tuned, you never know what social media network we'll be on next!! logo - shopping bag graphic Support Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank while doing all of your online shopping! Simply shop online through and a portion of all sales will be donated to the Pittsburgh Food Bank. Visit their website to view a full list of participating stores and start earning money for the Food Bank!!

 Eric Ryan Corporation Logo

Savings for Hunger: Under the Eric Ryan Corporation's (ERC) Savings For Hunger Program, 5% of the revenue received from new client fees will be donated to a local food pantry in the client’s community. ERC reduces utility and telecommunications expenses by auditing clients’ historical bills for errors. Any money recovered is shared between the client and ERC. Not only do clients save money, but they will help feed the needy. Donations will be made in the client’s name. Visit ERC's website for more information! View ERC's YouTube video about the promo.

 The Coupon Sheet

 The Coupon Sheet: From the folks who brought us the Entertainment Book comes a new fundraising idea that is as simple as it is beneficial. Introducing “The Coupon Sheet,” a single sheet of 10 coupons from popular national merchants that any organization can sell to raise money, with the added benefit of helping the Food Bank. For every sheet sold, the organization will receive $2.25 of the $5.00 price, and the Food Bank receives 25 cents. Redeeming even 2 or 3 coupons will “pay” for the $5.00 purchase fee, so it’s both inexpensive and an easy sell. The sheets come in tablets of 20, but the organization pays only for sheets that are sold. An extra 25 cents per sheet is returned to the organization for incentives and prizes. And finally, the Food Bank portion is donated to the Food Bank in the name of the organization, a great publicity generator. If your organization is interested, call 1-877-215-7575.


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Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has been awarded the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations' (PANO) Standards for Excellence Seal! 

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Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
1 North Linden Street :: Duquesne, PA 15110 :: (412) 460-3663 ::

Member of Feeding America

Your donations are going directly to feed the hungry. The official registration and financial information of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

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