As Pittsburgh restaurant and bakery owners work to keep their businesses and employees afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, some are also making sure their neighbors are fed. Here are just a few of the eateries uplifting their communities through food (and ways you can help them):
Starting April 2, 125 Sheetz locations across Pennsylvania will offer free meals to children in need. Kidz Meal Bagz include a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink available on a daily basis while supplies last. Families interested in taking advantage of the food can stop at a participating location and ask an employee at the register for one meal per child. The program will run for two weeks, at which time Sheetz management will reevaluate it based on community need.
A full list of participating locations can be found here.
Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão, located on Smithfield Street Downtown, is providing daily meals for several area families and seniors through the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. The packaged meals, which include a meat and two sides, are picked up by Y staff and loaded in the Y on the Fly van for no-contact delivery on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Participants were selected for the program from Y’s Hope for All database. The list of chronically and critically food insecure families has more than 400 names, which the organization strives to reach through bi-monthly food pantries in Homewood and Hazelwood, as well as emergency grocery shopping and food delivery services.
Local restaurants interested in partnering with the YMCA to provide meals should contact Marisa Williams at 412-228-4181 or send an email.
Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse
For every $10 raised through Meal Train, an online donation platform, Caliente Pizza & Draft House is delivering pies to workers in Pittsburgh-area hospitals. In less than a week, 50 Pittsburghers have given nearly $2,500 to provide more than 200 pies to doctors, nurses and other medical staff.
GetMoMuffins features a Pay-What-You-Want meal program to help low-income families keep their bellies full. Since the coronavirus hit, owner Robin Stanton has been ramping up those efforts, delivering food to people in need. Each meal, which typically costs about $21.93, feeds two people and includes an entrée, side and dessert. Stanton delivers everywhere in the Pittsburgh region.
If you know someone who is hungry, Stanton recommends you don’t tell them you are ordering food for them. Casually ask what they’re up to and then contact Stanton at email@example.com or call or text 484-942-0062 and make an online donation. All information is kept confidential. While you’re on the site, order some goodies for yourself.
Menuette, a popular pop-up dinner series, was set to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant this spring. Owners Christian Schulz and Rebecca Nicholson are using this time to launch their Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) Community Kitchen store. Anyone with a South Pittsburgh/South Hills shipping address qualifies.
Currently, the menu features three soup selections — chicken and dumpling, beans and greens and Korean-style kimchi — that are all available by the quart. In addition to those soups, Menuette is offering a Soup of the Week subscription for $12.50, in which they’ll deliver a different soup, complete with garnishes and other complimentary items, every week. Delivery is also included in the subscription price.
The Oaklander/Spirits & Tales
The Oaklander and Spirits & Tales have shifted to a grocery model and introduced initiatives for medical personnel since they’re located in the hospital epicenter of Oakland.
All medical staff will receive 50 percent off all grocery and food items in their Curbside Carry Out Program. Simply mention your place of employment when you place an order via phone 412-297-4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and then show your badge at the (closed) car window when you arrive. Your food will be placed in your trunk.
You can support hospital workers, too. Purchase a $15 meal package for one person at Spirits & Tales and the restaurant will post on social media how many meals are available for pickup each day.
AMPD Group, an entertainment and hospitality management company, is channeling its inner hardship into an emergency meal distribution program, Our Helping Meals (OHM). The program, founded by Jamie Marie Christian, executive director of the Lettuce Turnip the Beet Sustainability Collective — with help from Stacie Kennelly and Sara-Summer Oliphant — distributes thousands of homemade meals in the South Hills.
AMPD Group reopened the kitchen doors of its Steel Cactus restaurant in Bethel Park to prepare 600 to 800 meals using donated food items from the company’s other locations, while closely following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and regulations.
OHM is also providing a virtual diaper delivery, food box delivery, CSA delivery for those who are immune-compromised, and children’s games and activities for pickup and delivery. Meal deliveries can be requested by calling or texting Jamie at 412-334-8631 between 5 p.m. the night before and 7 a.m. on the day of delivery. Emergency packs can be requested at any time. To volunteer or make a donation, call 412-334-8631 or email Jamie.Christian@ltbcsga.org.
The Troy Hill eatery is moving a majority of its carryout items to a Pay-What-You-Can model. There are prepared foods, which are divided into Heat Me and Eat Me and Keep Me Cool sections, bakery products, meats and produce. Dairy and beer must be priced as listed.
If you have the ability to pay, fill out whatever you feel is a fair amount in the tip section as you check out. For those who are saving their money, just place the order as you normally would and pick it up; no questions will be asked.
5 Generation Bakers
The bakery behind Pittsburgh’s favorite Jenny Lee Swirl Bread, is shipping four free loaves of mini-wheat slider bread anywhere in the country. All they ask is that you pay for shipping.
Bethel Bakery has donated 180 loaves of fresh-baked Italian and homemade bread to the South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) to help feed families who are struggling in the wake of COVID-19.
SHIM continues to offer essential programs and services, including their three food pantries and utility assistance, to help people in need get back on their feet. Anyone in need of urgent assistance during this crisis can contact SHIM’s main office at 412-854-9120 and select the extension for the appropriate staff person or visit their website.
The organization is asking citizens to join its #RestockOurPantryChallenge and donate money to ensure their food pantries can meet the increased demand during this critical time and that they can continue to provide case management services and financial assistance for other pressing needs.