South Hills Interfaith Movement has launched the second annual March to Sack Hunger campaign, a monthlong high-urgency initiative to raise awareness of suburban poverty and combat hunger in the local area.
Through monetary and food donations from local residents, businesses and the community, SHIM looks to combat the need most greatly amplified by the pandemic.
“We’ve seen incredible support from the community throughout the pandemic, but the need for food keeps rising. We need help keeping up, as more neighbors are raising their hands for help every day,” SHIM executive director Jim Guffey said. “SHIM’s March to Sack Hunger campaign addresses the critical need for food and creates awareness of just how widespread food insecurity is in the South Hills.”
Last year, 4,000 South Hills residents reached out to SHIM for food, many for the first time.
March to Sack Hunger restocks SHIM’s three food pantries, at the SHIM Center at Bethel Park, Whitehall Presbyterian Church and Baldwin Presbyterian Church. Since March 2020, when SHIM turned its “shop-through” food pantries into walk-up and drive-through distributions, the nonprofit organization has experienced a 61% increase in people seeking help with basic needs such as food and financial assistance.
“We’ve provided a lot of basic needs for the community throughout the pandemic, but food assistance has always been, and continues to be the top request. SHIM’s food pantries help South Hills residents put healthy meals on the table,” Molly Penderville, SHIM’s senior operations coordinator, said. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to see their kids going to bed hungry. SHIM is here to prevent that. There is no donation too small, and every effort is appreciated.”
To support the campaign, the community is encouraged to participate in weekly themes like fundraising with a friend, purchasing takeout meals from local restaurants and tuning in on social media to hear touching stories from SHIM’s volunteers, donors and staff members.
In 2020, thanks to 500 donors, the campaign raised a record-breaking $110,000 to support more than 6,000 families, many of whom were affected by the pandemic.
For more information, visit shimcares.org/sack-hunger.