South Hills Interfaith Ministries is currently running an emergency fall food drive to help restock its seriously-depleted food pantry shelves.
The human services nonprofit based in Bethel Park did not receive the amount of food donations it normally does in the summer.
"We found ourselves scrambling for food," said Kate Snyder, community relations manager.
Snyder does not know if the summer food shortage was caused by South Hills residents having a particularly busy summer, or if residents are feeling the economic pinch. Either way, it's causing a major problem for SHIM as the number of families enrolled to use the food pantry keeps increasing.
"Suburban poverty is a growing problem and we're trying to keep up with increasing demand," Snyder said. "Our numbers have been going up since 2007...There has been a 150 percent increase of families over the last four years."
There are two ways to help. Residents can bring donations directly to the SHIM offices located at 5301 Park Ave., Bethel Park, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
"We take pretty much anything nonperishable," Snyder said.
The most popular items taken from the food pantry by families in need are cereal, macaroni and cheese, canned tuna, packaged side dishes and pasta sauce.
Residents may also choose to organize a food drive. It's a popular option among community groups such as girl scouts, churches and school classrooms. Those interested should contact Snyder by calling her at 412.854.9120 or email@example.com. The food drive runs through Oct. 17.
South Hills Interfaith Ministries is also preparing for the SHIM Shuffle, which is a family friendly 5K walk/run on Saturday, Oct. 15 at South Park. For more information, click here.