New Campaign Aims to Address 'Food Insecurity' in Pittsburgh

Sep 19, 2012

A small group of volunteers is raising money to tackle a big problem in the Pittsburgh area: food insecurity, when a family is routinely unsure of where and when it will find its next meal.

The Wake Up Call USA initiative is aiming to raise awareness of the issue with a corps of young volunteers. Three young women set up a table and refrigerator in the lobby of a PPG Place building for the "Skip Your Lunch, Feed a Child" program on Tuesday. A second crew worked at Pitt's Litchfield Towers in Oakland.

All donations in the Pittsburgh area go to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB), said Wake Up Call USA volunteer Angela Mineo.

"Ideally, we would love to raise enough to feed ten thousand children in southwestern Pennsylvania, which is about five thousand dollars," said Mineo. "Every dollar actually provides a meal to two children, so we appreciate any support we can get."

Mineo said food insecurity isn't as visible as some other health and nutritional issues.

"Everyone, of course, is aware of obesity as a major problem here in the U.S., but people don't always think about the other side of the problem, which is children who may not know where their next meal's coming from, may not know where their next nutritious meal is coming from. That can be just as detrimental," said Mineo.

Wake Up Call USA says food insecurity in children can result in poor physical and mental health, developmental delays, and lower social ability.

According to the GPCFB, the twelve-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania is home to more than 367,000 people who are food-insecure.

Wake Up Call USA is also accepting donations online via the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank website. The group also operates separately in northern Texas.