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Food drive to benefit Carnegie pantry

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 2:33 p.m.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Knights of Columbus will hold their annual food drive Oct. 12-13 to benefit the Carnegie Area Food Pantry, which is managed by the local St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Knights will be present before and after all Masses at the church that weekend to accept donations of canned and boxed food items. Personal care items such as diapers, toothpaste and shampoo, as well as household items such as laundry soap, dish soap and toilet paper, also will be accepted.

Last year, the food pantry provided assistance to more than 2,250 individuals in the Carnegie area.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society has been serving the Carnegie community since May 1933. It was revitalized in 1992 when the Carnegie area Catholic churches were merged into one parish renamed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Under the leadership of Sister John Bosco, a food pantry was set up in the basement of the former St. Luke Convent. When the convent was demolished, the food pantry moved to the basement of the former St. Luke's Church, serving 50 families per month at first.

Helping to get everything established were five volunteers who served as officers: Jan Coll, Al Cusick, Nick Diloreto, Dave Lynch and Tony Scisciani. Through their generosity, they also set up an investment to benefit an orphanage in South America. This is known as a “twinning donation.” Delivery of food to needy homebound individuals was conducted and a bread run was also begun wherein donated bread was picked up and delivered to the food pantry and homeless shelters once a week.

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 devastated Carnegie, including the flooding of the food pantry and all the furniture stored in the church basement. Within two months, the pantry was relocated to the Seton Parish Administrative Center on Mary Street and was back in business. It remained at this location until it returned to the renovated St. Luke Church, now known as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, at Third Avenue and Third Street.

Many local churches, area businesses and residents assisted with the flood recovery and continue to provide support to this day. The pantry is co-managed by Larry Gaburri and Sue Stein who succeeded Gino Purchiaroni who recently retired, although he still volunteers with the organization.

On Mondays, the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank delivers anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of food, taking six to 10 volunteers to efficiently unload the truck and stock the pantry's shelves. This is in addition to what may be locally donated.

The food pantry is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and is staffed by 10 volunteers. Although open to all people residing in the Carnegie area, a restriction is based on total household income at 150 percent of the poverty level. The income limit for an individual is $1,436 per month and $2,944 for a family of four.

The Carnegie Area Ministerial Association is conducting its third annual Crop Walk on Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. Some proceeds from this event will benefit the food pantry. For more information, call 412-276-1011.

In addition to the food drive, the Knights will be sponsoring their Annual Pancake Breakfast at the church on Oct. 13, donating all proceeds to the food pantry.

For more details on the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry or to donate or for more details on the projects of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Knights of Columbus, call Vince Dlugos at 412-475-0511.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or charlotte59@comcast.net.

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