Lebanon sisters Rebecca and Annabeth Weston, like many of their peers, enjoyed
making Rainbow Loom jewelry for friends and family. While making the
colorful, stretchy bracelets was a fun activity, they wondered, “What if we
could make a difference for others by doing this?”
Rainbow Loom fad then became a project with purpose for the sisters.
parental permission, Rebecca, 9, and Annabeth, 7, set up a “lemonade
and bracelet stand” outside of their home on a July afternoon, with a sign
announcing that proceeds from all sales would benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community
Food Bank. The response was an outpouring of support from their neighbors, as
people flocked to the stand to enjoy a cool drink and buy a cool accessory, for
the Food Bank. Many of the lemonade buyers paid with $1 and $5 bills, telling
the girls to donate the change.
Amy Weston, Rebecca and Annabeth’s mother, said that the girls were aware
of the problem of hunger and that they themselves chose to donate their profits
to the Food Bank. “It was their idea,” she said. “They learned about hunger at
school and they see the Food Bank display at Giant Eagle. I’m proud of them;
they never asked to keep a dime or to use the money to buy things for
The lemonade/bracelet stand caught the attention of Jacqueline Rossi, a
local jeweler and the owner of Rossi e Rossi Jewelry on Washington Road. She was
driving by and was intrigued by the sign that said “Lemonade and Jewelry.” She not
only purchased several bracelets on the spot, but also asked the girls to make an
additional two dozen bracelets for her to display in her store, with all
proceeds benefiting the Food Bank. “People are buying the bracelets,” she said,
“especially when they see that it’s for the Food Bank. I’ve sold about half of
the bracelets, so some are still available. I admire the Weston girls for being
so giving at such a young age.”
To date, the girls have raised $92 and that figure will rise once all the
bracelets at the jewelry store are sold. Rebecca and Annabeth, who are both
students at Lincoln Elementary School, can’t wait to do it again next summer.
“We had so much fun and we sold every single bracelet. A lot of our friends
wear Rainbow Loom bracelets that we made,” said Rebecca.
The Weston girls are living proof that age is no limit; anyone can do
what they love and make a difference for others, too. Rebecca and Annabeth, in
fourth and second grade respectively, are already jewelry designers,
entrepreneurs and philanthropists – who knows what the creative and caring
Weston sisters might think of next?
Step, Shoe By Shoe
Kip Rodes wears a size six shoe, and while that might seem
rather small, this ten year old dynamo has a HUGE heart. Kip is leaving an
impressive footprint on the world, with his initiative and concern for others.
He has managed, with an amazing army of supporters, to collect and donate
exactly 400 pairs of new and gently-used shoes for children and adults who need
A student at Kentucky Avenue
School in Shadyside, Kip attends weekly CCD classes at St. Bede Church in Point
Breeze. With the help of CCD teachers
Mary Widom, Matthew Hartman and Bridget Kelly, and the students at his school
and the Carlow Campus School, he collected, sorted and packaged shoes in a wide
variety of sizes and styles for the clients of Rainbow Kitchen, a member agency of the Food Bank.
sneakers, hiking shoes, work boots, snow boots and school shoes were among the
shoes that began forming a mountain in the family room at his home. “The boxes went across the whole front of the
room,” he exclaimed, “and down the other side! With help from my family
and my tutor, Meg, I sorted all the shoes and boxed them up. It was a lot of work! A nice man from the
Rainbow Kitchen picked them up in a van the next morning. He seemed happy
and I was, too.”
helping others – but Kip almost didn’t reach his goal of 400 pairs. When all
was said and done, he had – yikes! – only
398 pairs of shoes. Thank heavens for Mom, who came through at the last minute
with another two pairs.
Kip is grateful to
the helpers, including his twin sister Nora, for their efforts on behalf of his
shoe project. He was inspired, he explains, by a visit to the Food Bank with
his CCD class. The tour guide, he recalls, said that many clients need socks,
because theirs wear out quickly due to the poor condition of their shoes.
“Well, then what they really need are better shoes,” he thought to himself –
and thus the shoe collection project was born.
“Most people take shoes for granted, but shoes are
important, and tons of them end up in landfills. I was glad I could make a little difference,” he
says. But to 800 happy feet that will soon be wearing new shoes, he has made a
Sisters Spend July 4th Helping Others Find Freedom From Hunger
Proving once again that even the youngest among us can do
their part to help those in need, sisters Jordan and Peyton West of Presto, PA
spent their Fourth of July holiday making and selling bracelets and necklaces to benefit
the Food Bank.
According to Food Bank Board member Matt Swider, the girls
presented him with an envelope containing $41.50 and a note, which read in
part, “We love making rainbow loom bracelets. On the Fourth of July we made
red, white and blue bracelets and necklaces. We decided to sell them to our
neighbors to raise money for the Food Bank … Can you please give this to the
Food Bank? We hope this helps some people in need.”
Great work, girls! Thank you for your kindness and
Girl Scout Troop Earns Bronze Award For Feeding The Hungry
Girl Scout Troop #54228 visited the Food Bank in March of
last year to tour, learn about food insecurity and explore the many ways that children
can become involved in ending hunger. A seed was planted in their young minds and a year later the girls developed a campaign that would earn them a Bronze Award.
This spring the troop was working on their Bronze Award, the
highest award possible for their age group. The girls needed to make an
improvement in their community that was sustainable. They remembered their trip
to the Food Bank and decided to support the Cloverleaf Food Pantry in their
community with meal bags, birthday bags, grab/go bags and additional non
perishable food items.
The girls called their campaign “Feed Five Hundred”; the
goal was to collect 500 pounds of food for their bags. First they set out to collect the items and
accepted donations from local churches and businesses, their families,
neighbors and a local preschool.
When they had what they thought was enough, they got
together in April at the Good Shepherd Lutheran
Church in Whitehall to assemble their bags. The
finished project produced 75 snack bags, 41 spaghetti dinner bags, 26 Birthday
Bags and 26 Tuna Casserole Dinner Bags, plus 364 pounds of non perishable food
items. The grand total of their efforts was 811 pounds of happiness for the
families in their communities. They plan to distribute the bags at the
Cloverleaf Food Pantry when they volunteer there this summer.
Remember the “sustainable” part of their assignment? At the
end of their project the girls wrote up instructions for their 'campaign' to be
passed to another troop next year with the hope that this project will continue
for many years.
The young women of Troop #54228, from Baldwin, Whitehall and Pleasant
Hills, are helping their neighbors live with a little less struggle this
summer. Here at the Food Bank we tip our hats once again to our youngest
Small Change Can Make A Big Difference by Iris Valanti, Director of Communications
Third grader Ashlyn Conley volunteers at the South Side
Produce to People with her grandmother. One day as she worked she watched all
the customers waiting in line for groceries, and was determined to do more to help. She decided to participate in Pennies for Peanut Butter, a program
of the Food Bank’s Kids Campaign to End Hunger.
With Pennies for Peanut Butter, kids’ clubs, classrooms, Scout
troops and other groups, along with individuals like Ashlyn, collect pennies
and small change in peanut butter jars to donate to the Food Bank. Each jar holds
around 800 pennies, and with that $8.00 the Food Bank can buy more than SIX
jars of peanut butter.
Ashlyn prepared for her campaign by collecting and
decorating empty peanut butter jars (participants may also choose to download
a label from the Food Bank’s website). Then she started her collection,
asking family, friends and neighbors to dig deep and donate their pennies and
change to help fill the jars.
Ashlyn’s Pennies for Peanut Butter campaign was a huge
success! On January 28th, Ashlyn, along with her mom, aunt and cousin, came to
the Food Bank pushing a stroller (those pennies are heavy!) containing 18 jars
filled to capacity with change. Her collection amounted to over $170, which
will help the Food Bank buy 117 jars of peanut butter. During their visit
Ashlyn and her family received a tour of the Food Bank. On their way through
the warehouse they stopped at a pallet of peanut butter and counted out 117
jars to help Ashlyn understand the magnitude of her contribution.
Ashlyn is among many kids who have thought about other children
going hungry and decided to do something about it. Kids really can change the