Pine resident running Pittsburgh Marathon for charity
Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon isn't always easy, but Dave Rishel has had a little extra motivation over the years.
The Pine Township resident is once again ready to participate as a charity runner raising money for North Hills Community Outreach, the nonprofit for which he serves on the board, and after many years running the half marathon he's now leading a relay team made up of his colleagues from Hardin Compliance Consulting.
The marathon will take place along the streets of the city May 6.
“It makes it important that you wake up at 5 a.m. that day and get to the race, otherwise there were a couple occasions I may have skipped,” he joked. “After you tell people you're doing it and raising money, you'd better show up.”
North Hills Community Outreach started in 1987 and since then has been helping people in the surrounding area with services ranging from a food pantry to transportation assistance to help getting a job or paying bills. In 2016-17, they helped 3,692 area families in need by providing more than $1.1 million in funds, goods and services in addition to information, support and advocacy. They provided a total of 32,588 services.
Director of communications Jennifer Kissel said that many people are surprised to learn just how much need exists in the North Hills.
“Even though we've been around 30 years there is still that sort of stereotype that there isn't any poverty in the North Hills and that's just not true at all,” she said. “There are certainly affluent areas, but there are many, many pockets and places where people live at or below the poverty line.”
Kissel said they see people and families in all stages of need, from emergency food and help paying utilities to assistance with writing a resume and practicing interviewing skills. A great need they see often, she said, is transportation help.
It could be that someone owns a car but is making minimum wage, so when an expensive repair bill comes up he or she is unable to pay it. Or it could be that someone needs a new carseat, or can't afford a car and needs help paying for a bus pass.
“It's a catch-22 a lot of times because people may have a job but no car, so they can't get a promotion because they don't have reliable transportation,” she said. “So they can only get a job on the bus route, and the bus routes aren't great in the North Hills. We see it over and over. Or a crisis hits, and it's just a vicious cycle.”
North Hills Community Outreach has had as many as 40 to 50 runners participating in the marathon's Run for a Reason charity program and they've seen as much as $17,000 come in from runners' fundraising efforts. That's pretty impressive for a small nonprofit, she said. They also benefit from the awareness runners raise for the organization.
Rishel has sat on the board for more than 10 years and is a past president. He was always a runner, and now uses it to help the organization.
“Running for NHCO gives me the opportunity to raise awareness about it to my other friends and family,” he said. “And the nice thing this year is each relay member needs to learn about the organization in order to do fundraising, so it gets others involved and understanding what NHCO is all about.”
If you'd like to learn more about NHCO, including how to donate time or money or request assistance, visit the website at nhco.org. To donate through Run for a Reason visit www.crowdrise.com/pittsburghmarathon2018 and search for North Hills Community Outreach.
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.