Update: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 (6 p.m.)
By Lisa Scales
On behalf of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, I want to start this update by thanking all our volunteers. On an annual basis the Food Bank relies on more than 6,000 volunteers to provide support in everything we do. However, due to COVID-19, we’ve had to social distance ourselves from volunteers and drastically cut back the number of individuals in our building in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of both our volunteers and staff. Despite not being able to see many of our dedicated volunteers at this time, we still want to celebrate and recognize them during Volunteer Appreciation Week and say THANK YOU!
Today, we continued our drive-up emergency distributions at Pittsburgh International Airport. We are grateful to the Allegheny County Airport Authority for offering us this large space to host this event. The central location of the airport enables us to reach more people, particularly those in the counties immediately surrounding Allegheny, including Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Washington.
This Friday, we will return to PPG Paints Arena from 10a – 1p for another drive-up emergency distribution in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council. Two weeks ago, we served 1,300 vehicles. Unfortunately, we did have to turn away many cars due to supply. However, this week we will be prepared to serve 2,000 vehicles.
Over the past month, together with our network of 365 agencies, partners and programs spanning 11 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania, our organization has provided more than 4.2 million pounds of food, enough food for more than 3.5 million meals to individuals facing food insecurity.
Additionally, our SNAP Team has assisted more than 200 people with completing SNAP applications, and we are working with school districts and community organizations to ensure children have access to the Grab and Go meals while school is not in session.
Last week, we joined forces with two of our media partners for fundraising events. On Tuesday, April 14, Entercom Radio hosted the Feed The Need radiothon across its platform of stations (KDKA-AM Radio, 93.7 The Fan, 100.7 STAR and Y108). What started as a goal of raising enough money to provide 100,000 meals, turned in to something much bigger. Over the course of the day, Entercom listeners and their corporate partners raised more than $320,000, enough food for more than 1.5 million meals!
The following day, WTAE-TV hosted Project Community Day of Giving. This “virtualthon” raised over $1.2 million! Thank you to everyone involved in this monumental event, including 84 Lumber, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Edgar Snyder & Associates and The Meredith Group at Heffren Tillotson. Here’s a message from WTAE President and General Manager Charles W. Wolfertz III.
As the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) provides up-to-date information relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we also want to prepare our residents for protecting their mental health as it is an integral and essential component of health. As information spreads about COVID-19, it can be overwhelming and scary to hear that you should stay at home and may even lead to increased fear and anxiety.
The Department of Health has created a resource on helpful guides for Coping with COVID-19 Concerns.
Other Mental Health Resources:
- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services 24/7 Mental Health Support Line
- Crisis text line: text “PA” to 741-741
- Farm Aid Hotline
- 800-FARM-AID (327-6243)
- Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- A comprehensive hotline that connects callers with local resources including crisis services, food assistance, and clothing.
Information for Pennsylvania’s Employees Impacted By COVID-19
If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates at their website.