Good Neighbors

Hundreds of Free Lunches Delivered to Kids Along School Bus Route

How 3 nonprofits and 1 Hollywood star stepped up to make sure kids didn't go hungry.

Schools across the country are closed because of the coronavirus, putting extra strain on family budgets where children normally receive breakfast and lunch at school.

Pittsburgh Public Schools are among them. For the first time since the schools shut down, a school bus made its way down the typical bus route. Young students and their guardians waited at their usual bus stops, but they weren't waiting for a ride to school - this bus was bringing them relief in the form of school lunches that the students had been lacking.

This was all part of a pilot meal distribution program started by three local nonprofits: 412 Food Rescue, Latino Community Center, and A+ Schools. Here's a look at how this program got its start:

While many school districts have been providing grab-and-go lunches at school buildings, not every family has access to reliable transportation to get there. "We were finding [that] a lot of the kids couldn't get to the schools," said Melissa Leiberton, Development and Events Coordinator for 412 Food Rescue. "We decided 'if the kids can't go to the schools right now, let's go to the kids.'"

The bus, which was loaned by Etna Print Circus for the event, visited six school bus stops, delivering 500 free meals to students. These meals were provided by local restaurants Bar Botanico, The Vandal, and DiAnoia's Eatery.

And how was all this paid for? A large portion of the funding was provided by Hollywood actor Michael Keaton who is a Pittsburgh native and wanted to give back to his hometown community.

Michael Keaton sends positive vibes to 412 Food Rescue. Leah Lizarondo - Facebook

"This is a problem with many moving parts, but, if successful, this effort would make such a difference to children who have mobility limitations," said James Fogarty, executive director of A+ Schools.

"It was really good that all of our organizations got together and we feel lucky to be a part of it."

How can you start something good?

Click here to support 412 Food Rescue in their effort to collaborate with other organizations to keep people fed during this crisis, whether it be with fresh-made food, or by the organization's usual mission to "rescue" perfectly good food from places like restaurants and supermarkets, and getting it to people who need it.

412 says 40% of all food in America goes to waste, while 1 in 9 people go hungry. Since 2015 the organization has saved over 5 million pounds of food from landfills. Click here to volunteer and become a Food Rescue Hero!

The Conversation (1)
Steph31 Mar, 2020

So wonderful to read uplifting stories—especially now. Thanks for highlighting all the good in our city!

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