Donating Time Is Not Enough For School Board Member & Volunteer, She Also Gave A Kidney

Nov 4, 2016

Moira Kaleida tucks food into the back pack of a Pittsburgh Montessori School student as part of her volunteer work.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Every Friday during the school year, Moira Kaleida gathers a group of volunteers at Pittsburgh Montessori School in Bloomfield to fill backpacks with food for students to take home over the weekend.

“We know that 62 percent of kids in Pittsburgh Public Schools are economically disadvantaged, so this came out of the need to make sure kids have food on the weekends,” Kaleida said.

The kids usually get two lunches, two breakfasts and some snacks tucked inside their backpacks.

But that is just the beginning of her volunteer efforts. Kaleida is also a chapter co-leader for the International Cesarean Awareness Network, which supports mothers who have had the procedure and are looking for help in their recovery or for support in having a vaginal birth.

Last year, Kaleida was elected to the Pittsburgh Public School Board and does other education advocacy work as well.

“She does everything,” said Sarah Abbott, who also volunteers with the backpack program. “She has a kind heart, she is just lovable. She donated a kidney to a stranger."

A crew of volunteers assemble bags of food to be tucked into the backpacks of some Pittsburgh Montessori School students.
Credit Sarah Abbott

Kaleida knew the mother of the child who received the kidney, but not that well. They met a few times at events and were Facebook friends.

“From Facebook I saw that her son needed a kidney,” Kaleida said. “Having two daughters of my own and knowing what that would feel like to have a child … hurting and in pain, it was an easy decision to go in and get tested.”

In all, Kaleida estimated she spends 50 to 100 hours each month volunteering, depending on what events are going on that month.

“My parents raised me that we are human and we have to care for other human beings and this is what my purposes is,” Kaleida said.