Honoring a true anti-hunger hero

Bruce Simmeth has long been a friend of the Food Bank. As Executive Director of the United Way of Beaver County for 23 years, Bruce became a legend in the county and throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Many would describe Bruce as a gentle soul, yet a fierce and tireless advocate for those less fortunate in life. On Tuesday, representatives from the Food Bank honored Bruce for his service during the monthly Beaver County Summer Food Task Force meeting. Dennis P. McManus, government affairs director for the Food Bank, presented Bruce with an engraved plate for his years of service. “The fight against hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania has no more commited, knowledgeable and talented advocate than Bruce Simmeth.”

Bruce receives an engraved plate at the Beaver County Summer Food Task Force meeting in recognition of his years of service as a HEAT member and a tireless advocate for people at risk of hunger. From left to right: Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz (Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden), Aaron Bingle (YMCA), Bruce Simmeth, Dennis P. McManus (Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank), Christina Winniewicz (Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank/Southwestern PA Food Security Partnership), Rebecca Ficca Salopek (Housing Authority of Beaver County), Janet George (Office of State Senator Elder Vogel Jr.), Tonya Conrad (Rochester School District), and Rachel Schneider (Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank).

Bruce receives an engraved plate at the Beaver County Summer Food Task Force meeting in recognition of his years of service as a HEAT member and a tireless advocate for people at risk of hunger.

A successful advocate

After spending 40 years of his life dedicated to helping people, Bruce decided to retire. Yet his commitment to helping people at risk of hunger did not end in retirement. Bruce remained an active member of the Beaver County Summer Food Task Force and in 2014 decided to volunteer for the Food Bank’s Hunger Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT).  As a HEAT member, Bruce was matched with both his State Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. and his U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus as a district anti-hunger advocacy leader.  In his two years of service as a HEAT member, Bruce has been in contact with his matched elected officials or their staff members on a monthly basis, ensuring the issue of food security does not get lost in the shuffle among the many issues legislators must vote on. He has successfully advocated for increased funding for the State Food Purchase Program and Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System at the state level. Persevering through more than two years of continuous advocacy to strengthen and protect child nutrition programs at the federal level, Bruce helped coordinate two site visits for Congressman Rothfus at Holy Spirit Fellowship Church and Rochester School District’s Summer Food Service Program sites. These visits help put a face to the statistics cited in legislation being developed about child nutrition programs like summer meals.

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Bruce shares his insights on Child Nutrition Reauthorization with Congressman Rothfus during his visit to the Rochester School District summer meals program, sponsored by the YMCA (2016).

 

On behalf of the entire Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank team, we want to sincerely thank Bruce for all he has done to end hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.  You are a true asset to our organization and community.