Hunger, as you probably have read here in the past, is very much a part of our lives … 1 in 7 people in Pennsylvania don’t know for sure where their next meal is coming from today. Look around you. Is it someone in your office? Someone living on your street? Some of the children on the school bus? Yes, yes it is.
The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collects gently used and new tote bags for distribution to the region’s food pantries, in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Bank. The tote bags make it easier to transport more food home. There are only so many plastic bags someone can carry, especially on the bus or with several households crammed into one car.
Thanks to some generous donors, they are offering YOU some very nice presents for contributing to our cause. It is pretty simple:
- Register on the website.
- Collect at least 25 tote bags by December 22.
- Bring the bags to a drop-off spot and report in via email or phone.
- That’s it!
- Drawing will be held on December 23.
Prizes include: $50 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory, $50 gift basket from East End Food Co-op, $65 value Holiday Heritage basket from Rivers of Steel (including passes to the Carrie Furnace tour), movie passes, music, overnight stays at hotels, and more.
You have almost two weeks to collect totes. How about sending a quick email to your coworkers, neighbors, and friends?
You can collect 25 totes pretty quickly by simply asking your immediate circle. Ask your boss for leftover PR bags. Ask folks to bring a tote to the office grab bag. Lots of ideas.
Lots of ways to WIN!
** As drawing takes place on December 23, prizes may not be available to you for December 25. You can pick your prize up from the Northside, but organizers won’t be able to deliver prizes until the week after Christmas Day.
What does this have to do with LGBTQ issues? Well, the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh is a drop-off spot Downtown. The first student led tote drive was organized by the GSA at Community College Allegheny Campus. PATF has a food pantry that is part of the food bank network. The Ladies FallFling of Out to Dance held a very nice little drive. The Food Bank is gay friendly and it is important that we do our best to connect our neighbors and friends with food resources if they need them. Sometimes that can be intimidating because they are faith based agencies, but hunger knows no discrimination so usually its fine. But it can be intimidating so we need to work together.
I’ve learned that the GLCC gets phone calls about emergency food resources. We’ll make sure they are connected with the Food Bank to share that information. We are hoping to partner with the Food Bank to have a presence at PrideFest.
If you participate by donating tote bags and start that conversation with people in your life, you send a signal that LGBTQ folks can seek these services and expect to be treated with dignity and respect. If they share a need with you, you’ll know what to do to support them. And tote bags are something most people have — so if they don’t have food to donate, they may have a bag.