Bethel Bakery has donated 180 loaves of fresh-baked Italian and homemade bread to South Hills Interfaith Movement to help feed families who are struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bread was distributed with other food pantry items on Thursday and Friday at the SHIM Center in Bethel Park.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, SHIM has been preparing for an increased need for food, personal care items and other vital resources. The organization continues to offer essential programs and services, including their three food pantries and utility assistance, to help people in need get back on their feet.
Food insecurity is an especially large concern, according to Jim Guffey, SHIM executive director.
“COVID-19 is already hurting countless people in the South Hills,” he said. “Unfortunately, the weeks and months ahead are likely to be even more challenging, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors.”
After learning about the increased need, Bethel Bakery offered to help by donating bread.
“Many businesses are finding ways to heal and uplift people during this crisis, and we want to do our part as well,” said John Walsh, president of the 65-year-old company on Brightwood Road. “We are delighted to help ease this burden from SHIM and benefit the folks who are hurting most at this difficult time.”
In 2019, SHIM’s food pantries — located at SHIM Center at Bethel Park, SHIM Family Center in Whitehall, and Baldwin United Presbyterian Church — provided more than 500,000 pounds of food to more than 3,500 people in need, 35 percent of whom were children. Some common items that can be found at the pantries include rice, beans, lentils and fresh produce.
Guffey hopes that fresh bread will provide a welcome pick-me-up to those who are struggling.
“This will be a wonderful treat for the families we serve,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Bethel Bakery for stepping up and helping the community at this great time of need. Better days are coming, but until then, we all have to stick together and support each other.”
Those who want to make a monetary donation to support SHIM’s work can do so at shimcares.org/give. Anyone in need of urgent assistance during this crisis can contact SHIM’s main office at 412-854-9120 and select the extension for the appropriate staff person.