North Hills Community Outreach gets creative to serve food bank patrons

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 4:28 PM

North Hills Community Outreach had to get creative to serve their food bank customers today, March 17.

Countless families rely on the food bank to provide them with food, toilet paper and other necessities each month. But in order to responsibly take care of the hundreds of people that need this service, while also observing coronavirus concerns, NHCO employees came up with an innovative solution.

During normal shopping days, the community members show up to the food bank at the Allison Park location and take a shopping cart through the facility to shop.

“We certainly didn’t feel right about simply closing because so many people rely on the food bank,” said Carolyn Pschirer, Director of Services at the NHCO. “But we also wanted to keep them safe.”

It was then that NHCO workers hatched a plan to shop for their customers, bag up a variety of food and supplies, then place them in shopping carts. That way, when the parade of cars showed up, the shoppers didn’t even have to leave their cars. They simply popped their trunks and volunteers loaded the groceries. While shoppers didn’t get to pick their exact groceries as usual, NHCO employees made sure everybody got a variety of foods and supplies.

“It was amazing,” said Pschirer. “It was raining and chilly, but nobody complained, not the volunteers or the people we served. Everybody understood why we were serving them this way and they seemed to really appreciate it.”

On March 18, at the Millvale location, and March 19, in Bellevue, NHCO members will use a similar formula to ensure all the people they serve at those locations are taken care of while also reducing exposure to the coronavirus.

The NHCO will continue to service the public in this capacity until the threat of exposure is gone, according to Erica Cochran, Director of Development at the NHCO.

For details about the food bank, go to