A 21st Century Journalism Project

Believe In Yourself

In People on May 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm


One of the most common misconceptions is the assumption that if someone is hungry it means that they do not have a job or they are living on the streets. Anyone can experience food hunger and it affects many millions of Americans. Many families who do have jobs work all day and night to get enough money to feed their children. There are many other families who do not meet those requirements. A website called Feeding America has many hunger facts about families who struggle with hunger. “Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger.  These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.”

The poverty level in America increases every single day.  In 2009 over 8.8 million families were in poverty. Families who are in poverty have a really hard time dealing with hunger issues. There are over millions and millions of people that suffer from poverty. Thankfully enough there are food pantries for people who cannot afford food for their loved ones.

The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is well known for its steel industry and in society today its economy is based on healthcare, education, technology and financial services. In 2009, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for residents with income below the poverty level was 23.1% and residents with income below 50% of the poverty line was 11.8%. Statistics has been updated today and it is a shame what families go through. However this is a serious issue, but it may take years for something to change or it may not even change at all. In big cities people ask each and every day for spare change. Whatever the case may be, they are saving it up for something to eat for themselves or for their families. There are places that can help several people who cannot afford food those places are food banks, food pantries, or soup kitchens. These places can be found throughout the entire city of Pittsburgh.

Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry provides a safe environment for people who are in need of food. They are privileged to serve those who do not have enough resources to feed themselves or their families. This was like most food pantries where you wait in line and receive boxes of food. There was about 10 -15 people there holding their baskets waiting in line for their food. Each of them could take one item off of each table. It was only for the people around their community. They make it clear without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation etc. All is welcomed.

I met a younger man in his late twenties; his name was Andy Beck. He was a volunteer who has been helping Squirrel Hill. He informed me with all this information about this food pantry helping out the poor. “This food pantry is great for the local community of Lawrenceville because it helps out all the people who are in need of food for their families. It is great to see everyone finally smiling again.”

Giving food to one anotherAndy Beck grew up in a rough childhood and it made him realize what it was like to see others who had the same problem as him. His parents were divorced and he did not get along with them. He was closest with his grandmother who then took care of him up until he was eighteen years old. He felt like he was a burden to his parents, but he knew what he had to do in order to succeed in life. Andy knew what it was like not being able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. He described the feeling he felt, which was always being depressed. He couldn’t live feeling the way he felt, he knew somehow and somewhere he would talk to somebody about his problems. His grandmother told him to never give up and he would soon be happily ever after.

Andy always wanted to help out others and make them happy. He was volunteering at many different places around Pittsburgh. One place he has been at for awhile was Shadyside hospital. All the patients adored him for who he was as a person. He received free food there every day. It was a great opportunity for him to share his personal stories about his life. He was just an outgoing person who loved everyone and would always give his food away. Andy said “the people at the hospital would always tell me no, it’s fine the food is yours now.”  “I never actually knew what it was like to have food given to me.”

He would go volunteer at Shadyside on some days of the week and then and the other days you would find him at the Food Pantry. He was handing out food to each person in line and was very excited. Andy stated that “he never felt so accomplished with his life before.” I told him dreams really do come true you just have to believe in yourself.


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