Charitable Foundation Pays It Forward

During the federal government shutdown this winter, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank provided nearly 15,000 pounds of food and other necessities to nearly 300 federal employees who were working without paychecks at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Now the Allegheny County Airport Authority Charitable Foundation is paying that gift forward with a recently approved $5,000 grant to the food bank.

Board President Steve Baldwin said the foundation intended to help fund lunches for federal employees had the 35-day shutdown lasted longer.

“When the shutdown ended, we were still in the mindset of wanting to be helpful, so we decided a grant directed toward the food bank would be appropriate,” said Baldwin, who is also the JetBlue General Manager at PIT. “The Pittsburgh food bank is in need of those resources and it’s important to give members of the community warm meals.”

According to the food bank, a grant that size can provide more than 25,000 meals, helping families in the 11 counties they serve to overcome food insecurity.

During the shutdown, the food bank’s delivery was large enough to serve 300 households and establish a temporary food pantry at the airport.

“The adversity of the shutdown brought out the best in everyone: those that stepped up, the employees that worked without pay and the community that came to the rescue,” said Dale Cottrill, Chief Financial Officer of ACAA and director of the charitable foundation. “It wasn’t long before members of the foundation board were calling to see how we could help as well.”

The ACAA Charitable Foundation was established in 2013 with the mission to enhance the experience of travelers at PIT and Allegheny County Airport and to support the communities closest to the airports to better the lives of residents.

“TSA agents and air traffic controllers already have demanding, stressful jobs. Minimizing the worry of putting food on the table for themselves and their families was one way we could help,” said Lisa Scales, president and CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “The foundation’s generous gift to the food bank was unexpected and will go a long way to helping us meet the needs of our neighbors. In 2018 alone, the food bank distributed nearly 34.5 million meals.”

In addition to the food bank’s food pantry during the shutdown, other businesses donated burgers, water, breakfast, snacks and more.

Services for federal workers continued beyond the duration of the shutdown to provide continued security as the workers regained stability and recovered financially. The foundation’s donation is in line with its mission to help the community in areas of social need, officials said.

Other areas of support from the foundation include improving the comfort of travel for military service personnel and veterans using the airports, supporting education through scholarships and workforce development, and enhancing airport spaces through art and cultural displays.

To donate to the food bank, click here.

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