Feeding Lebo

Mt. Lebanon is a friendly and generous community, as anyone who has lived here knows. It may not surprise you to learn that our community has numerous food pantries. However, without doing some research, someone looking to visit a food bank, donate food or volunteer may not know where to go.

Please use the information here as a way to connect to some of the food pantries in our area and hopefully find a convenient location.

Liz DiPietro is the MLUMC food pantry coordinator. Photo by John Schisler.

Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church (MLUMC)

The food pantry at MLUMC offers food pickup and delivery services to approximately 60 families, or 135 people, once a month. Clients who pick up their donations can come from any geographical location, broadening the area that the food pantry is able to serve. Volunteers help deliver to Mt. Lebanon and several other neighborhoods including Dormont, Brookline, Beechview and Castle Shannon.

Liz DiPietro is the Coordinator of the Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church (MLUMC) food pantry, a volunteer position she has held for the past 26 years. Since the pandemic began, causing unemployment to rise, DiPietro has observed that there has been a greater need for food pantry services.

“[Our clients] are very grateful and have been very appreciative of the help they’ve been given to get them through this difficult time,” she said.

The MLUMC pantry is completely staffed and run by dedicated volunteers like DiPietro. Due to COVID-19, DiPietro is running the pantry with a small core group of volunteers, but she will begin accepting additional volunteers when it is safer for everyone. Areas of opportunity in the future include shopping, packing, distributing food on Saturday mornings and making deliveries. Prospective volunteers can call the MLUMC office at (412) 531-7131.

To make a food donation, collect any nonperishable unexpired food items. The pantry accepts other items as well, including cleaning supplies, personal items and much-needed paper products such as toilet paper, Kleenex and paper towels. Call (412) 531-7131 to schedule a dropoff at the church.

Finally, to make a monetary donation, write a check to Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church with “Food Pantry” in the memo line. The money will go into a designated food pantry account. Mail to:

Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church
3319 West Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216

The South Hills Food Pantry

Located at the corner of Washington Road and Castle Shannon Boulevard, the South Hills Food Pantry is a joint effort between Southminster Presbyterian Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. This pantry focuses primarily on delivery—their client list has 100 people, and volunteer drivers make deliveries once a month to more than 60 families. Their reach includes Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Oliver and Arlington.

The South Hills Food Pantry is staffed and run completely by volunteers, including Volunteer Manager Bob Brown. “Our focus is on people who are homebound and not able to get to other food pantries or grocery stores, and the number of people who are in that condition have increased, so there are more people who fit our criteria,” Brown said.

They are currently accepting volunteers to help with shopping, shelving food, packing bags and making no-contact deliveries. Please call the Southminster Presbyterian Church office at (412) 343-8900 or contact Mary Cullison, Director of Administrative Operations, at mary@spchurch.org to volunteer.

To make a food donation, collect nonperishable unexpired canned and boxed foods. The South Hills Food Pantry prefers plastic and paper items, rather than glass, for safety reasons. The pantry also accepts oral health items and paper products. You can simply drop off your donation any time at the Southminster House, 801 Washington Road. Leave the food in the buckets on the outdoor screened-in porch, above the limited-mobility parking spaces. Volunteers regularly collect the food from the buckets for distribution.

To make a monetary donation, write a check to Southminster Presbyterian Church with “South Hills Food Pantry” in the memo line. The money will go into a designated food pantry account. Mail to:

Southminster Presbyterian Church
799 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

The St. Winifred Food Pantry

Founded in 1982 by Mt. Lebanon native Lois Yates, the St. Winifred Food Pantry is a joint effort between parishioners from St. Paul of the Cross, St. Michael the Archangel (both in Mt. Lebanon), Resurrection, Our Lady of Hope (both in Bethel Park), and each parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Conference.

The St. Winifred Food Pantry helps families suffering from food insecurity by hosting two food distributions each week. They serve clients from Baldwin, Bethel Park, South Park, Castle Shannon, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Overbook and Upper St. Clair. Their volunteers also deliver weekly to more than 30 houses. The St. Winifred Food Pantry is a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, allowing them to become involved in programs like the Healthy Pantry Initiative, which promotes healthy eating habits such as eating fresh produce.

“Food insecurity is far more prevalent than people realize,” said Margi Henderson, Director at the St. Winifred Food Pantry. In fact, she notes that, since the pandemic began, some of their regular donors are now coming to the pantry for the first time as clients.

Henderson and her team are all volunteers; however, COVID-19 has temporarily halted new volunteer applications. For now, Henderson said people can make a big impact by coordinating socially-distant neighborhood food drives.

The St. Winifred Food Pantry accepts nonperishable foods, ideally within their best-by dates. They also accept incontinence products, wipes, shampoo, conditioner and soaps. Due to pandemic supply chain delays, Henderson said the pantry is in particular need of items such as jelly, pasta, pasta sauces and low-sodium soups. Once you have gathered your donation, contact the food pantry at (412) 343-1915 to make arrangements for a dropoff.

To make a monetary donation, write a check to St. Winifred Food Pantry and mail to:

St. Winifred Food Pantry
℅ St. Paul of the Cross Parish
400 Hoodridge Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15234

South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM)

 SHIM has three food pantries. SHIM Center, which is also the donation site, is located in Bethel Park, and Whitehall Presbyterian Church and Baldwin United Presbyterian Church host the other two distribution centers. Each SHIM pantry opens for distribution twice a month and is able to deliver on a case-by-case basis. In total, they serve 2700 individuals from 700-800 households monthly to clients in Baldwin, Whitehall, Bethel Park, South Park, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Castle Shannon and Dormont. SHIM is also a partner agency of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Volunteers contribute to many parts of SHIM’s operations, including food distribution, stocking shelves, sorting donations and packing boxes. Right now, they are looking for volunteers to pick up donations from stores and pick up orders from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. For safety reasons, during the pandemic, volunteer opportunities are limited at this time. However, if you are interested, please call Volunteer Manager Debi Dempsey at (412) 854-9120 ext. 106. You will then be contacted when conditions are safe enough to add volunteers if they are unable to add you immediately.

SHIM accepts nonperishable foods as well as personal care items. In fact, right now they are in particular need of personal care items and cleaning supplies. The best times to drop off your donation at the SHIM Center in Bethel Park are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but SHIM will make other arrangements with you if needed.

If you’re making an especially large donation, like from a food drive, SHIM asks that you call ahead so they can be prepared to accept your donation. To contact SHIM about a dropoff, please contact Rachel White, Development Assistant, at (412) 854-9120 ext. 112 or rwhite@shimcares.org.

To make a monetary donation, write a check to “SHIM” or “South Hills Interfaith Movement” and mail to:

South Hills Interfaith Movement
5301 Park Avenue
Bethel Park, PA 15102

You can also donate online at shimcares.org/donate.

Photo by John Schisler.

Giving Tips

If you would like to donate to a food pantry but are not sure exactly what to buy, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Buy prepackaged food items that do not need additional ingredients to complete preparation. For example, Velveeta shells and cheese is better than Kraft mac and cheese.
  • Look for items that are nutritious and have protein, like tuna fish, canned meat, peanut butter and canned fruits and vegetables.
  • When selecting canned items, look for low-sodium options in items like soups and vegetables, and select the light syrup option for canned fruit. This helps avoid added salt and sugar.
  • Look for whole grain options in foods like pasta.
  • Jelly, cereal, oatmeal, and pasta sauce are always needed.
  • Chunky soups, stews, beans, canned tomatoes, and spaghetti and spaghetti sauce are also food pantry staples.

You can give regularly to meet an ever-present need, or you can give on a one-time basis. For example, a donation to a food pantry is a meaningful way to remember a loved one. You can also ask for food pantry donations in lieu of gifts for a birthday or graduation party you are hosting. Get creative!

Thank you to all who give of their time and money to get food to those in need. It is part of what makes Mt. Lebanon such a special place!