The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project is partnering with the Pittsburgh-area Patch sites to support our neighbors with a holiday tote and food drive.
Drop-off spots will be established throughout the region to collect tote bags and food throughout the holidays, with a cultural twist.
"We've learned that our local immigrant and refugee communities have a lot to teach us about a culture of reuse," said Sue Kerr, founder of the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project.
"We've also learned that culturally diverse food items are not easily accessible via the food pantries. We want to ensure that all of our neighbors can celebrate their cultural traditions with appropriate foods."
The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project has teamed up with regional food pantries and foodie bloggers familiar with culturally diverse foods to create a list of non-perishable food items as a suggested list for donors. Items that are often found in glass in mainstream grocery stores can often be purchased in plastic or other containers at ethnic food stores throughout the region.
The project hopes to set up a holiday drop-off spot in each Patch community. The drop-off spot will need to have room to accept totes and foods that can be collected on a regular basis by volunteers. They will need to be open to the public and perhaps welcome new visitors to their business.
In return, the businesses will be profiled in their community Patch as well as the Tote Bag Project website. Each supporter will receive at least 10 social media mentions during the holiday season. Local businesses that make a commitment by Nov. 10 will be included in print publicity and press releases.
Another opportunity is for local companies with promotional tote bags to offer a "match" for each bag donated in their community. Companies such as Dollar Bank, Duquesne Light, Leed's, American Eagle and Chatham University have made more than 1,000 bags available during previous match challenges.
All donations will be donated to the central Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to be distributed to food pantries in 11 counties.
Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project needs drop-off spot supporters in the following communities:
- Forest Hills-Regent Square: Animal Nature
- Monroeville/Penn Hills
- North Allegheny
- North Hills
- Pleasant Hills
- Robinson-Moon: Basket of Pittsburgh
"This is an opportunity to explore a new culture," Kerr said. "It gives donors a reason to visit an ethnic store they've driven by a hundred times or to browse the ethnic aisles in local grocery stores. It also helps us all be more mindful of the contribution our newest neighbors bring to Pittsburgh."
A list of suggested items is available from The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project. While traditional grocery shopping bags are the typical donation, the project can also accept backpacks, gym bags and any bag that would carry a gallon of milk. Bags can be in new or gently used condition.
Do you own a business that can serve as a drop-off spot for this holiday project? Email the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project by clicking here or let us know in the comments section!