PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the fog burned off Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers and neighbors worked together to collect food for several food pantries in the Oakmont, Verona, and neighboring areas.

“So many people reached out wanting to help and volunteer and donate. It’s amazing how this community has shown support,” food drive organizer Karen Deturck said.

The idea started with Tracy Gourley. She was making masks and people wanted to offer her something for her work.

“They wanted to give something, so I said how about food because I saw the need of food pantries,” Gourley told KDKA Saturday morning.

After getting together with community leaders, they decide to have a food drive. Before any cars arrived in the parking lot, they had already received several boxes of food and hundreds of dollars in donations.

Volunteers said food drives will need to continue even as we return to normal.

“We know this is going to continue. I think this is going to be a big thing continuing an ongoing effort by the communities,” Gourley said.

Those volunteers weren’t alone. In several city neighborhoods, volunteers were collecting and giving out essential items to their fellow neighbors.

“At times like this here, there is a need,” Rashard Byrdsong with the Community Empowerment Association said. “I’m glad to say that so many organizations, so many individuals, regular folks, church leaders have come to be part of this broader issue.”

Rashard Byrdsong with the community empowerment association says some minority communities were already facing food insecurity issues before the pandemic.

He hopes community leaders see the impact now and address it.

“There are certain things that need to happen in our community such as food, shelter, and clothing,” Byrdsong said.

He has been part of six distributions and plans to have several more.

If you would like to donate to the Community Empowerment Association, call 412-371-3689. For the food drive in the Oakmont area, you’re asked to contact the Oakmont Chamber of Commerce.

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