About the Recipients

Giving2Grow is so honored to be able to provide some support to 6 wonderful organizations in the southwestern Pennsylvania area – one new to us and five returning – that serve children who face food insecurity. Explore the websites below to learn more about our 2023 Grant Recipients.

Beverly’s Birthdays: Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank – New Huntingdon, PA

Description: Beverly’s Birthdays provides birthday cheer and critical baby care items for children of families in need, including homeless families. In 2022, the organization founded The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank to address the crisis of formula availability for babies in need after a nationwide product recall. The need persists in rural communities and lower socioeconomic zip codes, where formula supplies, especially specialty formulas such as hypoallergenic, are inconsistently stocked. Families whose WIC benefits are delayed, or who are experiencing a financial or personal crisis, can be desperate to find formula for their babies. This is the region’s first and only formula bank network and is designed to be a bridge-based support service. Formula banks are housed in Allegheny County (5), Westmoreland County (1) and Washington County (1). The formula is available free of charge and clients are permitted twelve cans per year.

From June 2022-June 2023, the Greater Pittsburgh Formula Bank supported 2,500 referrals and fed 1,120 babies. In 2024, The Bank projects 4,000 referrals, which would feed an estimated 2,400 babies.

East End United Community Center (EEUCC) – Uniontown, PA

Description: EEUCC offers a variety of no-cost programs in their under-resourced community, designed to teach self-sufficiency and responsibility for one another, to help children and their families become productive citizens. The Gardening to Give program teaches students to grow, harvest, and prepare healthy fruits and vegetables while giving back to the community. As part of a service-learning plan, they distribute some of their produce and prepared foods to people in need in the community, along with educational materials on food deserts and nutritional health. Participants are from families who fall below federal poverty guidelines; over 50% are African American. The number of anticipated participants is 70 students along with 50 adults.

The garden has become a part of the fabric of everything they do at EEUCC. Volunteers, students, and employees have all developed a personal connection to it. EEUCC is devoted to spreading the word about the community garden by entering it into contests, and in 2023 students were excited to win two Garden Club awards.

FreeStore 15106/Carnegie Elementary School PTA – Carnegie, PA

Description: In November 2021, two dedicated teachers at Carnegie Elementary School founded FreeStore15106 to alleviate hunger experienced by many of their school’s students. All students in the Carlynton School District, a diverse, multicultural community, are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch during the school year. During the summer, the school district provides free lunches three times a week.

Every Friday during the school year, FreeStore provides a backpack of non-perishable breakfast and lunch foods, a loaf of bread, and a half gallon of milk to any students of the district requiring assistance. This number has increased from an average of 52 in the 2022-23 school year, to 96 this year. It can be challenging to fill 96 backpacks with their standard minimum list of food; afterward the food shelves are often quite bare. Needy family members can also schedule an appointment to shop for other food items available after the backpacks are filled, during the summer as well as during the school year. Free Store also offers donated toiletries, clothing, sunscreen, and other essentials. FreeStore is entirely staffed and run by volunteers. Food distributions are made based on cash and food donations from the community and local organizations.

HEARTH – Pittsburgh, PA

Description: HEARTH provides a safe temporary (up to 2 years) shelter and support services to homeless women and their children, many of whom who have survived trauma or abuse. In 2021 HEARTH’s programs served 31 families, including 36 children; 2022/23 demographics have been similar. Among the services is a 24-hour food pantry providing a selection of mostly non-perishable food, which supplements the food residents can obtain through food stamps and other support programs. The pantry is stocked through community food drives and monthly food bank orders; however, supplies often dwindle in between these events. G2G funding helps to keep the pantry well-stocked year-round, providing an important source of security and well-being for these vulnerable families. It also covers grocery store gift cards and materials for teaching families how to incorporate heathy food on a limited budget.

Lighthouse Memorial Christian Center (LMCC) – Pittsburgh, PA

Description: Lighthouse Memorial Christian Center is a youth and outreach-focused church located in Mt. Oliver, serving surrounding communities including Knoxville, Carrick and Beltzhoover. This is one of Pittsburgh’s most challenged areas; these predominantly African American communities struggle with widespread homelessness, hunger, gun violence and addiction. For decades the LMCC organization and its many volunteers have worked to provide food, mentoring/counseling, and a haven for children and young adults of the community. Although this is a faith-based organization, programs are available to anyone in the community who needs them.

Every weekday during the school year the Lighthouse van picks up 20-40 elementary school-aged children for its free after school program, with planned activities, homework help, and a healthy hot meal. The summer camp (ages 4-15) provides free activities, educational programming and occasional field trips, plus healthy meals and snacks for 65-80 children. Many of the participants would not have regular or nutritious meals during the summer without this program. Typically children leave both programs each day with a bag of food for the rest of their family.

Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs – Pittsburgh, PA

Description: The Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs, sponsored by Felician Ministries, serves a low-income, primarily Latino, rental community without access to transportation or groceries. Their primary goal is to provide daily healthy food for 60+ children through after-school and summer camp programs. Over 90 families receive produce and food to take home from the community garden and new greenhouse. More than 80 children are served year-round. Staff and volunteers help residents complete such important tasks as school enrollment, healthcare appointments, translation, jobs, utility setup, etc. MNP collaborates with 412 Food Rescue, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and the Coraopolis Community Development Corporation.