Sewickley church committed to helping put food on local tables
Triumph Baptist Church has been providing groceries at a discount since 1989 simply to serve the community, leaders say.
The Sewickley church runs its own Tender Lovin' Food ministry, usually on the fourth Saturday of every month.
About 55 to 60 people participate each month, about 20 of whom are sponsored by the church. Each “unit” of groceries is $23 and many times includes fresh fruit and vegetables.
“It's a big help for people who need to stretch their food budget,” said Lois Rush, a church member who helps with the ministry.
Those who wish to buy the food or those who are sponsored by the church usually must sign up by the second Saturday of the month. However, as it was this month, in December the food will be distributed on the third Saturday so that people can get groceries in time for the holidays.
Participants on Saturday received everything for a Thanksgiving dinner. Seventy turkeys with all the trimmings were distributed.
The next sign up deadline is Dec. 8 for the month's groceries, which will include a ham for a Christmas dinner and be distributed on Dec. 15.
When the cost for a unit of groceries goes over $23, Rush said patrons still will pay the same amount, and the church picks up the rest.
“You couldn't get this amount of food at the grocery store for $23,” said Rush, who along with Evelyn Lee, does a lot of the paperwork, ordering, packing, setting up and distributing for the program.
About 10 other volunteers help each month.
One is Bob Liggett, church deacon, who volunteers to try to keep costs as low as possible.
He has been involved in the program since he joined the church in 1990.
“It's all about establishing relationships with the people in the store,” he said.
“Sometimes they will give us a break on the cost. Even if they give 25 cents off, for 50 to 70 people, that adds up to dollars,” he said.
Liggett starts his research after the last bag of groceries is distributed each month. He checks circulars and makes deals with store managers and meat department managers.
He said, at times, he comes across a sale he doesn't want to let slip away, but it's too early and ends before he can purchase it in time for the next distribution. So many times, the store managers will hold the sale price for him and hold the items at the store until he is ready to pick them up.
He said the small church has only so much storage space, so he picks up many of the items on distribution day.
Anyone can participate. There are no income, location or church requirements.
And, people really appreciate it, Rush said. A few months ago, she said many participants kept commenting on how amazed they were at all the fresh food Liggett was able to purchase, such as broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes.
Rush, along with Lee and Rob Davis, has been with the program since the beginning.
Emanuel Wilson, an associate minister at the church at the time, had suggested the idea of a food share.
The Rev. Craig Giles thought it was a good idea.
Triumph Baptist began participating as part of the National Food Share, then later with Tri State Food Share until it moved its Ambridge warehouse to North Versailles.
Church members decided to start their own program in the early 1990s with help from Deacon Deray Cole, who since has moved to North Carolina, and the late Terry Long, a former church member and former Pittsburgh Steelers player, who named the program and worked with food vendors through his restaurant business.
It's a big job, Rush said, but he manages to get it all done and deliver the food to the church on time.
“Bob does a really good job,” Rush said.
Liggett gave credit to the grocery stores' staff.
“They really have embraced what we do here,” he said.
“It helps adds to our success to provide more for less.”
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Heroin, marijuana found in car, driver arrested
- Pirates send Decker to Indy to clear roster space for Morse
- Pittsburgh Police looking for dark blue BMW that hit cyclist in East Liberty
- City Council approves ordinance requiring paid sick leave
- Actress Dushku displaced from Pittsburgh hotel by One Direction
- Broken water main creates sinkhole that swallows truck in Overbrook
- Wolf nominates retired trooper as state police commissioner
- Mother of Pittsburgh shooting victim does not accept apology at sentencing
- Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
- Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
- Couple jailed after domestic assault in Gilpin