Roots of Faith ramping up efforts for food distribution
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 7:17 AM
More than 100 bags of food were gone in 30 minutes during Roots of Faith’s initial distribution last week.
“We were turning people away at the door,” Director Kathleen Stanley said. “We obviously didn’t expect that amount of turnout.”
Volunteers are ramping up efforts this week to dole out four times as many boxes full of canned veggies, cereal and boxed potatoes.
Residents in need can visit from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the site along Main Street to collect a hefty box of food.
Families will get two weeks’ worth of shelf-stable items, Stanley said.
With Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandate to close the state’s non-life sustaining businesses, the unemployment rate is expected to skyrocket.
Stanley’s group, which routinely provides aid to families with utility assistance, children’s programs and health screenings, said volunteers are willing to extend themselves during this crisis to make sure others continue to receive crucial help.
“It’s hard to stay at home at watch people be hungry when you know you can do something about it,” Ann Boyd, a volunteer from Indiana Township, said.
On Monday, a small team gathered – wearing masks and gloves – to help sort through food donations piling in from across the region.
More than 100 food boxes were compiled for delivery to the nearby Sharpsburg Towers so that its senior citizen residents didn’t have to wander out.
“We had a couple of older people show up in tears last week,” Stanley said. “They were afraid to come out but they needed the food. We told them to go back home and we would start bringing the food to them.”
Another 20 bags will be delivered to the Granada Apartments, which also houses senior citizens, along Middle Street.
On Wednesdays, there will be meals-to-go available at the Worship Center along Clay Street; Mondays and Thursdays will see grab-and-go bags available for children 18 and younger at the Volunteers of America offices at 1650 Main Street.
Tarcia Rebeiz, Volunteers of America’s western regional director of programs, said food will be available for 80 children each day.
“They’ll get a big bag full of breakfasts and lunches, enough for three days,” Rebeiz said.
It is first-come, first-served, but her group will work to provide extras if needed. The group is receiving help from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Fox Chapel’s Backpack for Hunger, which works throughout the school year to provide weekend meals to more than 800 students at Fox Chapel Area schools.
Distributions will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Typically, the group serves about 65 children at its programs for elementary, middle and high school students.
Rebeiz expects a hefty turnout, noting, “We’ve gotten calls from people who we didn’t think knew we existed.”
Anyone interested in donating food or paper goods can drop them off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays at Roots of Faith.
“We all need to help each other and work for the common good,” Boyd said.