Wow! 2021 was almost as challenging as 2020! Throughout 2021, Giving2Grow’s grant recipients from 2020 continued to… wait for it… PIVOT to make sure that the young ones in their communities continued to have sufficient food. The organizations and their leaders were remarkably creative and flexible.

AND NOW! We are happy to recognize recipients of the 2021 grants – three NEW organizations and four returning ones.

Angels’ Place  — With facilities in Pittsburgh’s North Side and in Swissvale, Angels’ Place provides early childhood education, childcare and family support, and education assistance to low-income single parent families experiencing food insecurity, at no cost to student parents and reduced rates to working parents.  Giving2Grow funding contributes to providing two home-cooked meals and two snacks daily for the children, and also supports their garden program which provides hands-on learning for the children and nutrition education for the parents. They have been able to move to remote learning and programming when necessary due to COVID-19.

East End United Community Center – This Uniontown organization promotes the education and development of elementary students in their after-school program, including a summer enrichment program.  Part of that program is the Gardening to Give project, a nutrition-based and service-learning project that will teach students about growing fresh fruits and vegetables.  They will learn how to grow food indoors, outdoors, in urban and rural areas and in raised beds through traditional learning and through hands-on experience.  As their efforts “bear fruit” they will distribute their bounty to community members in need. This is a new funding opportunity for Giving2Grow.

Fayette County Community Action Association — Fayette County Community Action Agency (FCCAA), based in Uniontown, manages a variety of services for Fayette and Greene County residents who face widespread poverty and food insecurity.  Their Let’s Get Cooking! program provides virtual and in-home lessons on nutrition and procuring and preparing inexpensive healthy meals to first-time pregnant mothers and parents of children under the age of 2 years.  Ingredients and required equipment are provided for each module.   For example, a popular module in 2021 covered preparing baby food from fresh ingredients.   This is the third consecutive year that Giving2Grow has funded this early intervention program which provides lasting benefits to each group of 125 families who participate each year.

Garfield Community Farm – If you want to learn about permaculture gardening, the folks at this community farm in this Pittsburgh neighborhood can help you out. The community, working with The Open Door Church, have reclaimed three acres of abandoned and degraded urban land, intriguing neighbors and local children who live far from fresh produce in local stores. They combine nutrition education with food production, working through school partnerships, local teens and field trips.  This is the second year of funding for Garfield Community Farm.

HEARTH  —  HEARTH, located in Glenshaw, provides safe temporary (up to 2 years) shelter and support services to homeless women and their children who have survived trauma or abuse.    Among the services is a 24-hour food pantry offering a selection of healthy fresh food such as produce, milk, and eggs.  The pantry is stocked through community food drives and quarterly food bank orders; however, supplies often dwindle in between these events.  G2G will be funding Project 365, the goal of which is keeping the pantry well-stocked year-round—an important source not only of extra nutrition but also of security and well-being for these vulnerable families.  This is a new funding opportunity for Giving2Grow.

Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs — Mooncrest is a low income, primarily rental community with a significant immigrant population; it’s located in an isolated section of Moon Township with no public transportation.  Access to grocery stores and services in surrounding communities is difficult for families who don’t have a car.  Felician Ministries sponsors a variety of food access and other assistance programs that support residents.   G2G will be funding a portion of staff expenses of the after school and summer camp programs.  These focus on providing children with daily nutritious meals and snacks, as well as food for families to take home.  Children participating in the summer camp program also tend a community garden that supplies produce for them and their families, and other Mooncrest residents.   This is a new funding opportunity for Giving2Grow.

Rainbow Kitchen – Within the Anti-Hunger Programs at this long-standing organization, the Kids Café provides a hot, balanced and nutritious dinner to low-income children 5 days a week all year long, delivering it to program sites in Homestead and Mon View Heights where program staff and volunteers serve the children.  That activity allows Rainbow Kitchen to improve the quality of life for these children by providing back-to-school backpacks loaded with school supplies, holiday gifts, games, books and other donated items, and information on their other services and programs.  Last year, they provided more than 13,000 dinners to 370 children.