Although primarily known for its youth-focused programming, Center of Life in Hazelwood used the unexpected challenges caused by the pandemic as an opportunity to expand its reach and provide additional support for neighbors in need.
Center of Life had a food pantry prior to COVID-19, but the financial insecurity many families faced as a result of the pandemic meant that more people needed access to food. To meet the needs of these families, Center of Life began offering a meal delivery service for breakfast and lunch five days a week, reaching about 140 households each day. More than 100,000 meals have been delivered since the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns. These deliveries have allowed staff to stay physically connected to the families they serve and to keep up to date on any new needs families may have.
The meal delivery service has been made possible by a partnership between Pittsburgh Public Schools, Community Kitchen, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and other contracted food providers. Plans are in place to continue delivering food to those in the community who need it most, and Center of Life is currently recruiting Hazelwood residents for paid positions to help with food deliveries.