"We figured out how to work together, even with our differences, we figured it out."By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Our reporters at KDKA produced a series of special reports on the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They focus on remembrance and resilience and how Pittsburghers persevered since the declaration of a global pandemic. Kym Gable talked to community leaders about the outreach and charity they saw in the past 12 months.

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“We discovered how many people are really struggling in their homes,” said Tim Smith, the CEO at Center of Life in Hazelwood.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

That agency is a partner with the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative of 41 service organizations. For them, it was a ‘pre-action’ rather than a reaction.

“We were actually able to come together the Friday before the governor shut down the state to organize and begin to look at ways to serve the community in a way where no one fell through the cracks,” Smith said.

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They organized everything from food deliveries, elder care, educational programs for kids, and music and arts initiatives. Many non-profits collaborated with each other, galvanizing their forces to make an even bigger impact.

Debra Krischke, the founder of Inspired Women Paying It Forward saw that happening in her community.

“So many agencies doing the front-line, the heavy lifting, like the Lighthouse Foundation and the Batch Foundation, so we worked with those types of partners where we could generate the cash and the goods and the gift certificates, and they got them right into the hands of the people who need them the most,” Krischke said.

“The need was so great this past year and it still continues, but it forced everybody to sort of reach out – how can we do this to be the most efficient way possible,” she said.

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Smith added, “We figured out how to work together, even with our differences, we figured it out. I’m really proud of this community and the people in it.”