Northside Common Ministries Honored for Providing Quality Social and Healthcare Related Services to Low Income and Homeless

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The Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation (ACMSF) will present Northside Common Ministries with a 2014 Benjamin Rush Community Organization Award during its annual community awards and fundraising gala, Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Heinz Field – East Club Lounge.

Established in 1947, the Benjamin Rush Community Organization Award recognizes a company, institution, organization or agency that is successfully addressing a community health issue.

Northside Common Ministries (NCM) is a non-sectarian, non-profit, community based organization that was established in 1982 by a collaboration of 30 independent, local churches.  These individual congregations recognized the plight of economically disadvantaged people in urban communities that became so evident in Pittsburgh after the decline of the steel industry.  These concerned individuals pooled their creative, financial and human resources to form NCM with the purpose of addressing the needs of the hungry and homeless in Pittsburgh and on the Northside in particular. 

Part of the ongoing commitment of NCM has been assuring that physical, emotional and spiritual health needs of the clients it serves are met.  To reach this goal, NCM has been a host site for Healthcare for the Homeless, a program at various locations in the city which serve the street and sheltered homeless populations.  Three mornings a week a team of medical professionals provide comprehensive medical services to the homeless from the NCM location.  Hundreds of homeless persons meet with doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, pharmacists and support staff each year.  NCM also acts as a host site for Mission Vision which holds an annual eye care clinic on site where low income individuals get an eye exam and a free pair of glasses. 

In addition, two NCM programs that have been constants for the organization include Pleasant Valley Emergency Men’s Shelter and the Community Food Pantry.  Pleasant Valley is a 24/7 emergency shelter for homeless men with the ability to serve 25-30 clients. It provides a place where men can shower, sleep and receive a few hot, nutritious meals.  It also operates a Day Drop-In Center for men and women to get a hot lunch, shower, do their laundry and find friendship.

NCM’s Community Food Pantry is the largest food pantry in the city of Pittsburgh, serving more than 900 income-eligible Northside households every month.  The Food Pantry fills a void for families with limited resources who otherwise would not be able to provide adequate and nutritious meals for themselves throughout the month.

“Along with providing social service to low income, hungry and homeless Pittsburgher’s, Northside Common Ministries addresses many of the health needs that affect the low income community,” says Ben Skinker, MD, who nominated NCM for this award. “Through healthy eating programs facilitated at their community food pantry, mental health, drug and alcohol and self-esteem projects in their homeless shelter and healthcare and eye care clinics hosted at their site, NCM works  to assure that the low income, hungry and homeless community are able to easily access quality healthcare services.”

The Allegheny County Medical Society represents physician members from all specialties and is dedicated to providing leadership and advocacy for patients and physicians. The organization has been serving Allegheny County since 1865.