HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) — It’s a challenge that families in Pittsburgh face every day. Do you pay the rent, buy medicine or buy groceries? Sometimes, there’s just not enough money to go around.
“What can we say to a mother who has to watch her child endure the pain of hunger?” says Rev. Paul Abernathy of FOCUS Pittsburgh. “What can we say to her that will heal her broken heart? It’s not what we say, it’s what we do.”
In the United States, one out of every seven children doesn’t have enough to eat. That’s a statistic an organization called “Feed The Children” wants to change. The group has been working to end childhood hunger for 35 years.
Employees and volunteers say the stories of the people they’ve helped have stayed with them. In one case, an employee gave a box of food and supplies to a mother and her family.
“One of the [children] was about five or six years old and said, ‘Mommy, does this mean we get to eat tonight?’” says Gary Sloan of Feed the Children.
In honor of their 100th anniversary, North Shore-based Starkist donated $100,000 to Feed the Children. They also partnered with FOCUS Pittsburgh to select 400 families to receive a box full of food and other essentials. Several different items were included.
“Personal care stuff, canned goods,” says Denise Dukes, who lives at the Bedford Hill Apartments. “It’s pretty good stuff they gave us.”
“It helps out, it helps me out a lot, and the kids,” says Carmen McKinley, who also lives at the Bedford Hill Apartments.
Resident Sylvia Williams added, “I think it will help out a lot, because a lot of kids need stuff too… and people can’t afford to go out and get it.”
So many items were given away Thursday morning, it was enough to fill a tractor trailer, about 8 tons worth.
In addition to the food and other supplies, organizers set up a community fair with activities for families.
Starkist also plans to donate an additional $50,000 worth of food and products to Feed the Children this year.
It is a small step that’s making a big difference in the lives of local families.
“I’m just blessed to get all this food, anything they have to offer that’s free to the community,” says Dukes. “I’m blessed to have it, God is good.”
Long-time Hill District resident George Powell says that events like this one prove that people care about one another, and gives people a sense of community.
“What it means to me is people coming together, taking care of each other, especially the children,” says Powell.