In our most recent issue of the City Paper, we reported that data recently released from a Rand study of the Hill District and Homewood, show that 40 to 50 percent of the residents there experience food insecurity, compared to 13 percent of households across Pennsylvania.
This morning I received a call from a reader who wanted to emphasize that local food pantries are there to help those in such need.
But those pantries, too, are facing stress. As we reported at the beginning of the holiday season, neighborhood food pantries are facing increased costs to acquire food through the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, which added handling fees to many of its products as a result of state cuts in a program it relied on to help recoup the costs of distributing the food to the pantries.
How can you help?
There is no easy answer to whether your food donations this season will do greater good if sent to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank (which serves an 11-county area and tries to equally distribute the goods across all pantries) or your local pantry; that's a personal decision that may best be made in consult with the manager of the pantry nearest you.
But if you are looking to gather food to donate, the CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, Lisa Scales, recommends these items as those most in demand:
* Peanut Butter
* Tuna Fish
* Hearty stews (canned)
* Paper products and personal care products such as toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, deodorant and soap.