St. Clair Health and GROW Living Stones recently established a partnership that will make a difference in the local community and beyond. First and foremost, the organizations are collaborating to provide food to neighbors in need in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Additionally, this partnership will help to reduce the environmental impacts of food waste.
Since adopting a ‘Waste Nothing’ approach earlier this year, the Nutritional Services team at St. Clair has worked to identify ways to reduce, rescue, and redirect food from the landfill. One of several long-term strategies the team has adopted includes a recurring food donation to GROW Living Stones. Prepared foods that would otherwise go to waste are regularly packaged, frozen and donated so neighbors can come together to enjoy a meal hosted by GROW Living Stones.
“Introducing a food donation program will waste less of what St. Clair already produces and enable GROW Living Stones to redistribute it to those in need,” said Emily Guidash, Director of Nutritional Services, CURA Hospitality at St. Clair Health. “With a food insecurity rate of about 10 percent in Allegheny County, and food waste making up about three to five percent of the Hospital’s solid waste production every day, we believe this partnership can make an impact.”
St. Clair’s first donation of nearly 25 half-sheet pans and all subsequent donations will be reheated by volunteers and served buffet-style to nearly 100 neighbors on Sunday afternoons in one of three South Hills locations. Any leftovers are sent home with these neighbors to provide additional help, as many of the people served by GROW Living Stones return frequently for meals. For whatever reason, they’re struggling to feed themselves and maybe even their families.
“We have served some 28,000 meals to hundreds of the most vulnerable individuals and families in the South Hills since 2012. Still, there are areas with significant need where we can expand,” said Julie Livingston, Executive Director at GROW Living Stones. “We are hopeful this ongoing partnership with St. Clair will help us to provide more meals to more people in more communities.”
GROW Living Stones is one of several nonprofit organizations and agencies that St. Clair partners with to promote healthy lifestyles and provide benefits to the community as a whole. It’s a team effort to create a healthier community, so St. Clair is always looking to establish partnerships with organizations like GROW Living Stones that share its commitment to finding solutions for current problems and helping people live the best, healthiest lives possible.
“Every day, the St. Clair team cares for the people of this region. We also care about them,” said Guidash. “Together with partners like GROW Living Stones, we are working to build on existing strengths and enhance programs that ultimately help to improve the health and quality of life for our neighbors.”
About St. Clair Health
St. Clair Health is a nationally recognized, integrated health system with more than 2,500 employees and 600 physicians serving 500,000 residents of the region. It encompasses St. Clair Hospital; St. Clair Medical Group—a 135-physician multispecialty group; St. Clair Health Foundation; and other related entities. In 2016, St. Clair Health became a member of Mayo Clinic Care Network. As a leader in high value healthcare, it participates with all major insurers. For more information, visit: www.stclair.org.
About GROW Living Stones
GROW Living Stones is a charitable, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been feeding the hungry in the South Hills of Pittsburgh since 2012. The organization rescues locally prepared food that would otherwise be thrown out and provide hot, sit-down meals, without charge or discrimination, to individuals and families in need. In addition to food, fellowship, and encouragement, GROW Living Stones offers real-life help including free clothing, free haircuts, craft times, and other interactive activities. A Community Health Worker also provides case-by-case help to individuals with specific needs. For more information, visit: www.growlivingstones.com.