Critical Attention For Food Pantries Feeding Region

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

With nearly one in seven people in Allegheny County experiencing food insecurity, The Pittsburgh Foundation is organizing a Critical Needs Alert online fundraising event to raise money for 171 Allegheny and Westmoreland County organizations with food pantries as a primary part of their mission. The event also benefits nonprofits that supply them.

The Critical Needs event, under the #FeedPGH banner, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to midnight through the Foundation’s PittsburghGives.org donation portal. Every donation will trigger additional funding: the $1 million fundraising effort will be seeded with a $600,000 incentive pool from The Pittsburgh Foundation.

This year’s Critical Needs Alert aligns with the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, which seeks to ensure that residents who live at or near the federal poverty line – at least one-third of the region’s population – have opportunities to participate in the region’s improved economy.

Food pantries across the nation report increasing demand, particularly in areas where gentrification has caused costs for housing, transportation and other basic needs to rise. Simultaneously, state and federal officials are proposing work requirements for food and cash assistance. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 33 percent of people struggling with food insecurity have one or more full-time jobs.

Food insecurity means there is not enough food for every person in a household to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle. According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, a few groups are especially vulnerable to food insecurity:

  • Seniors: More than 300,000 senior citizens in Pennsylvania face food insecurity. Hunger ages senior citizens by as much as 14 years, causing a 64-year-old to face activity limitations normally experienced at age 78.
  • Children: One in six children in Allegheny County face food insecurity. Hungry children are three times as likely as food-secure peers to face poor health, twice as likely to suffer from ADHD and twice as likely to repeat a grade.
  • Working Pennsylvanians: 1.85 million Pennsylvanians are food-insecure and more than 314,000 Pennsylvanians with full-time jobs have incomes below the poverty line and face food insecurity.
  • Veterans: More than 59,000 Pennsylvania veterans receive food assistance for themselves and their families. Nationally, 70 percent of veterans are married and 31 percent have children.
  • People with disabilities: Nearly one-third of households headed by people with disabilities experience very low food security.
  • College students: One in 10 U.S. adults who seek food assistance are college students. One in five college students report skipping or cutting back on meals because they cannot afford food.

The Foundation is inviting nonprofits with food pantries as part of their primary mission and nonprofits that supply them to participate. The response deadline is April 24.

The catalyst for 16 hours of giving: This year’s #FeedPGH campaign will prorate payouts from the incentive pool based on the total raised by each organization. The goal is to encourage public giving over the full 16 hours of the Critical Needs Alert. Donations of $25 to $1,000 per donor will be eligible for incentive dollars.

Critical Needs Alert giving events align with the Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by evaluating and addressing community issues, promoting responsible philanthropy and connecting donors to the critical needs of the community.

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