Share This Page

Plum Food Pantry officials put surprise donation to good use

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Plum food Pnatry volunteers Bill Weber and Joe Utterback at the Holiday Park food pantry.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Plum food Pantry volunteers Jane Cush and Carol Dakan at the Holiday Park food pantry .

Joe Utterback was wrapping up a typical Tuesday night at the Plum Food Pantry.

The night, though, turned into anything but typical when borough resident Mike Sotace walked through the door.

Sotace, 54, president of the Information Systems Security Association, a not-for-profit, international organization of information security professionals and practitioners, presented Utterback, director of the Plum Food Pantry with an $8,000 check.

“He threw me a curve,” said Utterback, 82, of Plum. “We've never had a donation that big outside of a grant.”

The Plum Food Pantry has been in operation as a local food bank since 1982 at the Holiday Park United Methodist Church on Sandune Drive.

Utterback said about 40 volunteers help distribute food to clients from 5 to 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Utterback said about 180 clients are serviced by the food bank.

ISSA has an annual security forum. Sotace said a portion of the proceeds from the event over the past several years went to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Sotace, a security analyst, in 2011 saw news reports that the Plum Food Pantry did not have money to purchase vouchers for clients to receive turkeys for Thanksgiving.

“No child should be without food, and no family should be without a turkey,” said Karen Sotace, 56, Mike Sotace's wife.

The Sotaces on their own also donate food to the Plum pantry.

“I know what a bag of groceries costs a family,” Karen Sotace said.

Mike Sotace said he was impressed with Utterback when Sotace dropped off about $2,500 for the turkey vouchers.

“He is a real hero,” Mike Sotace said.

Sotace, through the ISSA, decided to continue supporting the Plum Food Pantry.

To date, the ISSA has donated about $14,000 to the organization.

Utterback said the money will be used to purchase items from the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank for the local pantry.

In additional, officials are looking at build a cupboard for additional storage.

“We are very fortunate,” Utterback said.

Utterback is especially thankful to receive a donation mid-year, prior to the holidays.

“It is a blessing,” Utterback said.

“Hopefully, this money will go far and raise awareness that the food bank needs help throughout the year,” Sotace said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.