Kids Campaign to End Hunger Success Stories

We are amazed at the outpouring of effort from local groups who have brainstormed, organized, promoted and hosted creative events and activities to benefit the Food Bank. 

Thank you to each and every group that has stepped up to the challenge and joined the Campaign to End Hunger! Below are highlights of just some of these fabulous supporters.

Be sure to submit your own success stories so we can highlight your group too!

Girl Scouts Donate Food and Volunteer

Girl Scout Troop 50068
collected food & volunteered

Making Bracelets to Make a Difference

It all started with a lemonade stand.

Mt. 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?”

The Rainbow Loom fad then became a project with purpose for the sisters.

With 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 themselves.”

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 By 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 them.

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.

Summer sandals, 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.”

Happy indeed, 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 big difference!

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 thoughtfulness!

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 volunteers!

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 world!