Outreach and Support Through COVID-19
Becoming a distribution point for more than food, FTS has been handing out information on gun safety and other food assistance programs offered by Westmoreland County Food Bank and Otterbein United Methodist Church, just to name a few. Over these past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of new faces through car windows and on park amphitheater seats as folks come through the drive-in or walk up distribution lines. This speaks powerfully to the emerging and real needs that we are working to address.
Since the threat of COVID-19 shut down our Thursday evening meals at Otterbein United Methodist Church, we have seen the Greensburg community show it’s true caring and giving character. With the gracious support of area restaurants, we began distributing free weekly meals at St. Clair Park on April 26. In the six-week period during which these restaurants were closed to dine-in customers, they provided nearly 2000 warm meals. We gratefully acknowledge their contributions:
Please consider patronizing these establishments that were so helpful to our community in this time of crisis.
To augment the hot meal distribution, FTS has been purchasing frozen meals through an arrangement with The Nutrition Group. This has allowed up to double to number of meals that we were able to offer and provide our guests with additional food. Very quickly, this event evolved into ‘meals and more’, with donations of infant diapers from the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, adult diapers The Disabilities Options Network, naloxone from the county Drug Overdose Task Force, toilet paper from Senior Life, bottled water from Pantalone Funeral Home, goodie bags from RSVP and Giant Eagle, pet food from Wayward Whiskers and Green Hill Veterinary Clinic and home-baked cookies from FTS volunteers. FTS has also received financial support from J Corks, Headkeeper, Community Foundation of the Alleghenies, The David and Marjorie Reese Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County for provision of both the restaurant-prepared and frozen meals.
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from Protect PT, Feeding the Spirit will be able to sustain the hot meal distribution through the summer while FTS is unable to serve meals in the church fellowship hall setting. This is supported by the Heinz Endowments, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, and others.
“We are humbled and encouraged by the outpouring of support of our community. We have seen an increase in need among our neighbors, and the additional funding we have received has enabled us to continue to meet the increased needs of those that have been directly affected by the pandemic, " Judy Knapp, Feeding the Spirit Board Member stated.
The funding, made available by Protect PT through the Ohio River Valley COVID-19 Response Fund of the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies, targets local organizations working to provide crisis relief to individuals and families. With this funding, Feeding the Spirit will be able to provide over 100 hot meals weekly to those facing financial hardships and food insecurities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This grant will also help support local restaurants who have experienced loss of revenue during the recently lifted stay at home orders.
Another Feeding the Spirit board member, Lynn Wagner added, "When the restrictions began, we met together, virtually, as a board and came up with a plan to continue our weekly meal distribution by offering frozen take home meals. Sun Dawg Cafe joined in recruiting donations of hot meals from local restaurants. We had no idea the community would rally around us and offer donations and assistance to make our outreach stretch further. We are beyond grateful.”
The Ohio River Valley COVID-19 Response Fund of the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies has been made available for environmental groups working in the Ohio River Valley region. The fund allows those environmental groups to extend support to their communities and to local nonprofits who are responding to diverse and dynamic needs resulting from the global pandemic.
“Feeding the spirit is a special organization, serving the people of this community at their most vulnerable time, aiding them with food and shelter to help them maintain their dignity,” Gillian Graber, Executive Director of Protect PT said. “We are thrilled that they received this funding to continue their vital work.”
Protect Penn-Trafford is a citizen's group working to ensure the safety, security, and quality of life from the effects of unconventional gas development in Penn-Trafford and surrounding communities in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties. For more information about Protect PT, see www.protectpt.org or call 724-392-7023.
POP-UP MEAL DISTRIBUTION
Beginning Saturday, April 18 from 2 p.m until 3 p.m, pre-packaged frozen meals will be distributed on Saturdays at St. Clair Park in Greensburg while the regular Thursday meal is on hold. All meals will be individually packed and distributed for take-out. Meals can be taken home to be reheated in the microwave or frozen for later.
Feeding the Spirit is taking all precautions to practice safe social distancing, please follow guidelines and maintain 6 feet distance from other guests while in the distribution line.
Special thanks to the City of Greensburg, Nutrition Group, and Sun Dawg Cafe for helping make this meal distribution happen.
For any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we will add you to our email list for future updates.
For those in need local emergency resources include:
▪️ PA 211 at 2-1-1
▪️Westmoreland Community Action at 724-834-1260 or info@WestmorelandCA.org
▪️Westmoreland County Food Bank (WCFB) at 724-468-8660 or westmorelandfoodbank.org
A $10,000 grant from Dominion Energy could not have come at a better time for Feeding the Spirit. The grant, earmarked for for homeless placement, or for poor families at risk of becoming homeless, will directly help individuals in crisis situations.
Last year 500 people were placed and taken off the streets. This grant will directly assist those efforts and help carry out the mission.
Read the full article featured in the Tribune Review.