Give Pittsburgh: November 2019

Whether through time or donations, there are many ways to give, and I notice signs of generosity everywhere.

On a recent Sunday, the church I belong to had some routine announcements after the service. Among them was a reminder of an upcoming meeting of the social ministries group, which does everything from operate two food pantries to work with local youth. I felt a familiar tinge, an urge to do more, to get involved.

When I was barely out of elementary school myself, my mom enlisted me to help her teach first grade Sunday school. In high school and college, I belonged to several groups that required community service, meaning I spent many afternoons tutoring or painting cheerful scenes on windows at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. During spring break my senior year, I joined a group building a home for Habitat for Humanity (although the chosen site was in Myrtle Beach, so that wasn’t much of a sacrifice).

Service has been ingrained in me, but sometimes it seems it’s harder to find time to help as an adult.

I knew a monthly meeting during the evening hours wasn’t an ideal option for me right now with three small children at home with varying bedtimes, each of which seems to take longer than the hours available in a day and more energy than wrestling an elephant. So I made a mental note to bring a donation for the food pantry next week instead. But still, I thought, there has to be something I can get actively involved in.

That’s the idea behind our main feature: “45 Ways to Do Good.”  Maybe you’re busy with young children; maybe you’re busy with older children. Maybe you want to get out by yourself but don’t know where to go; maybe your workplace or a group you belong to is looking for something you can do together. We came up with 15 categories, from the arts to education to seniors to youth, and researched the time commitments and who the opportunity might work best for (families, couples, etc.).

Right now, I can’t commit to one night a month to join a social justice committee, but I can participate in a community cleanup with my kids (there are only a few ages where saying: “Let’s spend our Saturday picking up garbage!” will be met with joy). I can crochet hats for newborns or cancer patients. I can take household items to the Free Stores.

Whether through time or donations, there are many ways to give, and I notice signs of generosity everywhere.

The box for my church’s food pantry collection sits directly behind the pew my family has claimed, and I’ve never seen it empty.

Categories: Editor