Three Rivers Champion: Tom Scheid
Shaler Township resident volunteers his time in more ways than one.
Tom Scheid started his journey into volunteering by giving part of himself — literally. More than 20 years ago, Scheid became a donor for Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank), starting by donating blood, then platelets and then plasma.
Today, Scheid is still a donor, and he also donates his time to a number of other causes. The Shaler Township resident has volunteered with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for more than three years, North Hills Community Outreach for three years and Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church’s First Start Furniture Ministry for about six months.
“I want to be productive. I want to provide some community service,” Scheid says. “From a social justice perspective, I think it is important to do something to give people a helping hand to help them achieve a better quality of life.”
At the Food Bank, Scheid helps with quality control checks of the food, sorts it and then prepares it for shipment to food pantries in the 11 counties that the Food Bank services. During the last week of the month, he and other volunteers work on the Senior Box project, assembling boxes of shelf-stable food for senior citizens.
“Before I retired, I knew I wanted to volunteer at the Food Bank,” Scheid says. “I wanted to do something to give people a hand-up.”
Scheid’s activities with North Hills Community Outreach include driving senior citizens to appointments, the grocery store, pharmacy, bank or wherever they need to go. He also volunteers at the organization’s food pantry in Millvale and shovels snow in the winter for two clients who live near him.
Scheid says that his favorite parts of volunteering are meeting and learning from new people, achieving a personal sense of accomplishment and the feeling of self-worth he receives when someone thanks him.
“Anyone [who] is able to volunteer should think about volunteering,” Scheid says. “You’re going to have a lot of fun, and you’re going to be helping people in your community achieve a better quality of life.”