In times like these, we often look to the past. I’ve been thinking a lot about one of Pittsburgh’s best: Fred Rogers. His sage wisdom and advice still manages to ring true on the toughest of subjects, even years after his passing. One of his quotes, in particular, remain more relevant than ever:

 “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”

In Bellevue, a township a few miles outside of Pittsburgh, this advice bloomed into life.  It’s hard to look out for everyone during a time like this, so Bellevue did what they could: looking out for their neighbors. 

A few community members associated with the Bellevue Farmers Market – Mallory and Albert Ciuksza – orchestrated a movement to help fight food insecurity in Bellevue during COVID-19. The need to help fight this problem was proven by the set-up of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP) for the marker’s customers. Building off this established need, in combination with a large elderly population, the Ciukszas knew something needed to be done. Working to get the pieces in place over the past month,  the Ciuksza are now able to deliver 1,000 meals to neighbors three days out of the week. 

Of course, Rome was not built in a day nor was it built by a mere few. The Ciuksza are working with many members of their community to help keep everyone fed. People from the likes of chefs, restaurant owners, corporate companies, and more banned together to help. After securing food donations and financing, the project moved into it’s temporary home: Bellevue’s Church of Assumption. The church’s kitchen works beautifully to help prepare the large quantities needed. The final step: how to deliver? Using OnFleet to handle the logistics, volunteers descended over the township to get meals delivered. The original idea by the Ciuksza is now being fully played out. They intend to help those in need for as long as June or more, dependent on funding. 

Now, of course, helping a neighbor can be a smaller action than organizing a food insecurity prevention program. How are you going to help your neighbor? Maybe a quick phone call to check-in, asking if they need groceries, or simply returning a smile. A beautiful neighborhood is not made beautiful by the trees or the houses, but by the people. Help keep the neighborhood beautiful for looking out for those around you. We’re stronger together.  

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Katherine Lewis

A Virginia native, Katherine moved to Pittsburgh in 2016 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After earning her B.A. in Media and Professional Communications in December 2019, Katherine begun working as a Marketing Intern and Public Relations for two different Pittsburgh-based organizations. She loves to travel, read ( big Carnegie Library fan), and explore Pittsburgh during her free time! All while fueled by an unnecessary amount of caffeine, of course.

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