When the 650 families arrived at the Food Bank on a sunny afternoon in July for our monthly Produce to People (P2P) food distribution, they were certainly surprised by what they found!
P2P is always busy, exciting, and productive, but this special version set an entirely new standard. The Duquesne P2P and Resource Fair, held in the front parking area, distributed an amazing total of 18,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to families and it also gave participants a bonus: opportunities to connect with over 18 local health and human services organizations and learn about the wide range of programs and resources that they offer.
In many cases, families and individuals were able to sign up for programs and services right on the spot. Among the health and social service organizations participating were Big Brothers and Big Sisters; Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force; Planned Parenthood; Allegheny County Health Department; WIC Outreach; Duquesne Family Support Center; and the Nurse Family Partnership. In addition, there were booths for Grow Pittsburgh; the Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership; the Job Corps; the Urban League and the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. Sponsors included Bar Marco restaurant, which provided delicious complimentary crostini, and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
The Duquesne P2P and Resource Fair provided activities, music, snacks and a children’s table featuring local artist Suzanne Trenney. The children’s table sponsored by the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, was a big hit with the families; it kept the kids entertained while their parents and caretakers browsed through the various tents and went through the produce distribution line. The McKeesport Library also had a children’s table, where children decorated paper plates and were given information about upcoming events.
Food Bank staffers and volunteers brought tremendous energy and esprit de corps to the project, according to Special Distributions Assistant Jacob Meyers. “I want to thank our volunteer operations team, our volunteers, our warehouse staff, our summer VISTA volunteer Kara Leffelman, our temp Trish Fraas, and the Special Distributions team: Ehrrin Keenan, Connor Sites-Bowen , Josh Murphy, and Tom Samilson. Everybody worked hard, brought creative ideas and did a great job with planning, organizing and setting up the Resource Fair. Thanks to their terrific teamwork, it was a great success.”
Since 2005, P2P events have been distributing free supplemental fresh fruits and vegetables directly to families. On average, each family receives 35-50 pounds of food. P2P events take place year-round at 16 sites throughout 11 counties and serve thousands of households.