“I truly believe that helping those in our community who need assistance is an obligation of our society.”
This past weekend was Father’s Day, a day of golf and grilling, tools and ties. Our dads can be heroes, protectors, advice givers and champions. And come on, who doesn’t love a good dad joke? Today, we want to share a little about a dad we think of as our hero. He isn’t our dad, but he is a dad who is helping to make a positive difference in our community and teaching his kids how important that work is along the way.
Dan first got involved with the Food Bank at the South Side Produce to People distribution when he volunteered with his son, John. Like so many of our volunteers, they were hooked from the first time. “I really liked that I did this with my son. It was great for him to see the value of volunteering and meet people from beyond our neighborhood,” says Dan of that first volunteer experience. Since then, Dan and his two sons, John and Tommy, have volunteered a combined total of more than 300 hours with the Food Bank.
Produce to People (P2P) is a large-scale produce distribution program operating at 17 locations throughout our service area each month. Families and individuals in need of additional food assistance can come to as many P2P sites each month as they need to while still attending their pantries. The Food Bank is able to distribute 30 to 50 pounds of food to each household, most of the which being produce. This program is especially important for families who might not qualify for traditional food assistance programs like SNAP or WIC.
Produce to People is the Food Bank’s only volunteer activity that offers direct service to those in need.
“I really value the direct interaction with the families served. The regularity of the events really makes me feel part of a community – a community of people helping people,” explains Dan. “One of the best things I learned was watching how much the people we serve help each other. It’s easy to think that as a volunteer, you’re doing most of the helping. However, there are always people getting food for other family members or neighbors who can’t come themselves. Folks drive each other to the events and they look after each other. It’s important to see everyone coming together in the community to help each other, everyone doing that in the way they can.”
For Dan, it’s about giving back to the community, but what’s even more important is the time he spends with his sons, and the lessons they all learn together.
“There’s so much value in teaching my sons the importance of volunteering, especially with P2P. Not only are we giving back, but they learn lessons about diversity, family and community. There’s a leveling and a commonness to everyone. We’re all in this together.”
For information about how you can volunteer with P2P, or any of our other programs, contact VolOps@pittsburghfoodbank.org. If you are in need of assistance, check out the Produce to People calendar here, or contact us at 412-460-3663.