Brashear serves record number of families during the holiday season
The Brashear Association continues to set new records for service during its recent holiday assistance campaign.
In each year for the past six years, Brashear has consistently provided a greater level of food assistance and toys to more families and children. This year the agency received requests for food or toys from more than 650 families.
“Without the substantial help from volunteers and incredibly generous donations from all segments of the community, we just couldn’t offer this service to so many families,” according to Hugh Brannan, the agency’s executive director.
This holiday season community volunteers were joined by employees from Habitat Restaurant to sort, select and package toys for hundreds of children.
“It’s a growing challenge to put gifts under the tree for hundreds of South Pittsburgh children. We had a very long Christmas list but, with the help of many organizations and individuals, we were able to do it,” Family Services Coordinator Tracy Frank said.
Brashear’s anonymous “mystery volunteer” returned with his annual collection of several hundred beautiful toys and gifts from the bingo players at Bishop Canevin High School and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Over the past several years, this effort has generated more than 2,500 toys and gifts for kids.
The agency also received donations of toys and gifts from other sources. The Marines Toys for Tots Program, with volunteers from Pittsburgh Cares, provided hundreds of toys. Other toy and gift donors included: Akustica, Incorporated; American Society of Civil Engineers/Young Members Forum; ampd Group; Butler Gas; BYS Yoga; City Theatre; Duquesne University (DU) Offices of Public Affairs and Student Engagement; Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community; and, the Market House and Henry Kaufmann Senior Citizens.
More toys and gifts came from: The Penn State Center-Pittsburgh, RE360, Incorporated; The South Pittsburgh Reporter, South Side Chamber of Commerce, South Side Community Council, UPMC Health Plan and UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center as well as those who donated to the Christmas in July Toy Drive. Because of this outpouring of support, the agency was able to reach hundreds of children. RE360 and Butler Gas both coordinated huge toy drives, resulting in donations that put the whole effort over the top.
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, Brashear also distributed food gift cards to hundreds of families. Support for these distributions came from: Birmingham Foundation; Duquesne University (DU) Office of Student Engagement; and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank/KDKA Turkey Fund. Other food donations were provided by the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community; L3 Brashear; and, Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 faculty, students and PTO.
Additional underwriting was received from: Birmingham Foundation, Byrnes and Kiefer, BYS Yoga, McGee Maruca and Associates, The Honorable Bruce Kraus, Pittsburgh Board of Education Food Service Division, Siegel Eye Care Associates, Sota Construction, South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, South Side Community Council, United American Savings Bank, UUBU 6 and Wyatt Industries.
Despite the successes of this holiday season, Brashear is still struggling to meet the needs of many low-income families. The agency’s food pantries were badly depleted by holiday needs. So, toy and food donations will be accepted throughout year and volunteer support is always needed. The annual South Side Soup Contest will help support the agency’s food programs. The contest will take place on February 20.
For more information on The Association and its programs and services, call 412-431-2236 or visit the website at http://www.brashearassociation.org. The Brashear Association is a South Pittsburgh community service agency.