It’s the season of giving. And during an extraordinarily challenging year, we are inspired to know that our team of Food Rescue Heroes (10,000 strong!) carries the spirit of giving with them every single day. This year, we have distributed nearly as much food as we have in the last four years combined. You made that happen. You showed up for our neighbors every single day. Food Rescue Heroes are the most generous people we know, and that brings us so much joy during a difficult time.
This holiday season, we were so happy to see Food Rescue Hero featured in the Chobani employees’ gift guide for home cooks on Fast Company (thank you Zoe Feldman!). It got us thinking — what’s on OUR team’s holiday lists this year? So, here goes: the 412 Food Rescue team’s ideas for holiday gifts and nonprofits to support this season.
Greg Austin, Good Food Project Manager
On My Wish List: A little Santa hat for the Dachshund we might be getting.
On My Giving List: Oxfam America is an international organization whose broad mission and focal projects resonate with me.
Mel Cronin, Program Delivery, Regional Expansion and Home Delivery
On My Wish List: Join the Pittsburgh Puzzle Exchange and/or volunteer to do a food rescue!
Danielle Engelhaupt, Deployment and Quality Assurance
On My Wish List: Gift cards to DoorDash and Instacart
On My Giving List: Pittsburgh’s Books-to-Prisoners program, which is part of the Thomas Merton Center. You can purchase books from Book ‘Em’s Amazon wishlist (be sure to check the link for things they cannot accept) or make a financial donation.
Jen England, Senior Program Director, Food Recovery Operations
On My Wish List: This year our family is focusing more on purchasing from BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and local businesses than asking for specific items. As such I’ve requested they get me books from The Tiny Bookstore and Bluestockings. And my Christmas wouldn’t be complete without board games from Games Unlimited in Squirrel Hill!
On My Giving List: Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid was co-founded by a long time 412 Food Rescue Volunteer and has been helping displaced service workers weather the pandemic. We love this organization that helps our friends and family and neighbors in the restaurant community! SisTers PGH offers outreach, accurate transgender education, trans inclusion training, advocacy, and emergency housing/shelter for transgender people of Pittsburgh. Transgender and nonbinary people are generally a very vulnerable group and the pandemic has been particularly hard on these neighbors.
Mary-Kay Fiore, Office Manager
On My Wish List: A healthy 2021 for everyone!
Ameesh Kapoor, Head of Engineering
On My Wish List: A new office chair (Who doesn’t need one?)
On My Giving List: Hello Neighbor
Anthony Levin-Decanini, Head of Product
On My Wish List: Mycorrhizal fungi for my garden soil
On My Giving List: The 10.27 Healing Partnership provides “opportunities for reflection, support, and connection for individuals and their loved ones impacted by the October 2018 attack and others who experience hate-induced trauma.
Leah Lizarondo, Co-founder and CEO
On My Wish List: Gift cards to my favorite restaurants are always a treat! I could go on and on, but here are a few: Wild Child, The Warren, Butterjoint, B52, DiAnoia’s, Driftwood Oven, Kahlil’s, Apteka, Ki Ramen, Morcilla
On My Giving List: Women and Girls Foundation – in Pittsburgh, no organization advocates for our rights more than WGF. “Women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5.” (UN Women)
Jessi Marsh, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships
On My Wish List: Cheese of the Month Club from Penn Mac. Not that this needs to be explained, because cheese is delicious. Plus, it’s a long-time local company. And – you can add WINE to your monthly delivery. What could be better when you’re stuck at home?
On My Giving List: As a board member of Shady Lane School, I love to support this charity. Located on the east side of Pittsburgh, Shady Lane is a preschool which focuses on art and play – primary ways young children learn. The inclusive school is intentionally diverse, welcoming private pay families as well as families in need of partial or full scholarships. Equity in education goes a long way in setting children up for success.
David Neimanis, Partner Experience Manager
On My Wish List: Gift cards for local, independently owned restaurants
On My Giving List: GreenWave – a regenerative ocean farming organization dedicated to creating sustainable food and jobs, and protecting the planet.
David Primm, Chief Operating Officer
On My Wish List: More lights for my growing exterior illumination project
On My Giving List: Foster Love Project – a generous organization working hard to assist kids and families in transition
Leland Scales, Nonprofit Partner Manager, Allegheny County
On My Wish List: Everyone have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
On My Giving List: Christian Life Skills
Dan Scullin, Fleet Operations and Food Donor Coordinator
On My Wish List: A gift card to Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill
On My Giving List: Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid and Pittsburgh Mutual Aid – These two organizations help those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis by sharing resources and organizing distribution aid networks for families and individuals in need.
Sara Swaney, Senior Director of Advancement
On My Wish List: Good health for everyone in the New Year!
On My Giving List: My neighborhood library, which recently opened a new environmentally friendly facility and community space for everyone to access books, technology and more.