Monday morning I set out for the Waterfront to meet up with some runners who are participating in the Pittsburgh Marathon events Run for a Reason, raising money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Even though I love to run races, it's actually pretty far out of my comfort zone to run with strangers, particularly on a trail I've never run before (Steel Valley). Oh yeah, and in the snow.
We set off from the trail head at the historic Homestead Pump House and ran just over 4 miles down the trail to the Food Bank's building in Duquesne. (Though I ended up running 5, since I didn't heed anyone's directions and in the zone, just kept going down the trail for another half mile until I realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore and had to turn back. Well done, Joanna.)
After the run, we had some refuel snacks and warmed up before we toured the facility and learned all about the organization we're running for. (And we also met former Steeler Andy Russell, who is a huge supporter of the GPCFB's efforts. He signed the mug pictured above!)
I thought I knew the general extent of the services the food bank provides, but until I walked around the warehouse and saw everything up close, I had no real idea of how vast an operation it actually is. The amount of assistance they provide is just amazing - 27 million pounds of food each year, to people in 11 counties through their 400+ member agencies.
As if that isn't impressive enough, the food bank has a focus on providing healthy food. I think people assume that food banks just focus on getting people food in general and don't worry about the nutritional value. But the food bank has many programs that address nutrition as well - and many initiatives behind the scenes as well. For instance, their Produce to People program distributes fresh food in 15 different locations. It makes me really happy to know that - because everyone deserves healthy food.
They are still looking for more runners to Run for a Reason. If you're running one of the Pittsburgh events this year, join the Food Bank team! They will be having more group fun runs throughout the training season (and hopefully beyond!) and it's a great way to combine fitness with a good cause.
You can donate to my fund here and even join the team from that site. After the event, I'll randomly select one donor and he or she will receive the mug pictured above, signed by Steel Curtain Steeler Andy Russell!