PITTSBURGH, PA (December 29, 2021) Mayor William Peduto, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, and the Office of Community Health & Safety is launching a new pilot program Wednesday in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (“The Food Bank”) to ensure Pittsburgh residents in crisis with immediate need and high engagements with Public Safety have access to shelf stable food.
This pilot is focused on meeting the immediate needs of residents who are identified through the Office of Community Health & Safety’s and Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire’s High Utilizer Program. The program, developed by Lt. Chad Hirosky and Dr. Sheila Roth, receives referrals from firefighters and makes home visits to people who frequently call 911 for non-emergency health and safety situations. The goal of the program is to ensure that people maintain dignity and have proper care in their homes. Boxes of shelf stable food provided by the Food Bank will be delivered to these residents through responding firefighters. The Food Bank will then be positioned to connect High Utilizers to pantries that meet their needs and location as well as connect them to further assistance such as SNAP enrollments through the Food Bank’s newly developed Community Connections Department.
“This pilot program with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire and the Office of Community Health & Safety is one more innovative tool in our toolbox to fulfill our mission, which is to feed people in need and mobilize our community to eliminate hunger. When firefighters identify a household in crisis, we want to be able to provide them with food assistance as quickly as possible. This new initiative gives families immediate support and then further connects them to resources that can provide stability in the future,” said President and CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Lisa Scales.
“Too many members of our community have unmet needs, including food insecurity, that impacts their mental and physical wellbeing,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Working with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire and OCH&S and the Food Bank, we are able to pair high utilizers of public safety services with shelf stable food to improve the overall health of our residents.”