Covid pandemic adjustments day of service

Like so many other activities and events over the past 10 months, the covid pandemic has affected opportunities for volunteers on Monday of National Day of Service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Colleges and universities in the area that may have student and staff volunteer opportunities on National Day of Service are not in session. Universities that start online this month or resume classes in February are holding their volunteer initiatives next month.

At Seton Hill University, the start of the spring semester has been postponed to February 2. The university usually delays its National Day of Service due to its semester schedule, said Jennifer Reeger, a spokeswoman for Seton Hill.

The university will hold events on campus in late February, during which students will have a variety of options to volunteer their services, Reeger said.

With the start of the second semester of Saint Vincent College, which has been postponed to February 8, the college will not be sponsoring student service activities on Monday. But Saint Vincent becomes Dr. To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life with campus events during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity February 8-13, said Jim Berger, college spokesman.

The University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg will not have student activities on Monday as students have been asked to stay home at the start of classes, said Susan Isola, UPG spokeswoman.

Penn State New Kensington brings events to the campus community and the public in virtual environments, said Corinne Coulson, strategic communications manager at the New Kensington campus. On Monday there will be an online forum where Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, will speak about activism for social justice.

The Community Day School in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh is looking for moderators for the Martin Luther King Read for Peace Day. Volunteers will read books about the civil rights movement and reflect on how people can create a more just and just world.

On Monday there will be volunteer opportunities to support two food banks in the area – the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne and the Westmoreland County Food Bank in Delmont – as well as a family home in Greensburg.

Westmoreland County’s Democratic Women will collect non-perishable groceries for the Westmoreland County Food Bank and cleaning supplies for the Welcome Home emergency shelter in Greensburg on Monday as part of National Day of Service.

“We chose these two (organizations) because we believed they were hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Carol Mintus, vice president of the Democratic Women’s Club, which has about 80 members.

County Food Bank continues to see food insecurity after the holidays, but pre-holiday trips for the Food Bank are over, said Jennifer Miller, chief executive officer of the county Food Bank.

The Food Bank saw a sharp drop in the number of food drives supporting the Food Bank last year because people failed to congregate due to restrictions related to Covid, Miller said.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank needed volunteers on Monday to help pack boxes at their Duquesne warehouse so they could be distributed to families in need to receive the boxes at drive-up distributions in the area, said Lisa Scales, managing director of the food bank.

The Greater Pittsburgh YWCA and the Aaron Donald 99 Foundation are helping recruit volunteers for the work Monday, Scales said.

Due to the pandemic, volunteer opportunities were cut in March and the food bank had to rely on the Pennsylvania National Guard to help with the distribution. They reopened to volunteers in June, “but we still need volunteers,” Scales said.

Some of these volunteers are needed on a third food packaging line that works in their warehouse from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Scales said. Volunteers are also needed to help distribute passing food, she noted.

Volunteers can contact the food bank through their website. at

Westmoreland Food Drive

Donations can be made Monday from 10am to 5pm at the Westmoreland County’s Democratic Committee office at 903 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg. Volunteers collect donations of items and money at tables outside the building to facilitate social distancing.

The women’s democratic group usually takes some kind of drive every year, said Mintus, the organization’s vice president. Over the past several years, they have adopted a soldier on active duty and collected items to be sent to that person and collected for the homeless shelter, Mintus said.

Those looking to donate can write a check to the organization they want to support – Westmoreland County Food Bank or Connect Inc., the shelter’s operator – and take them to the Democratic Committee office in Greensburg.

Joe Napsha is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252,, or on Twitter.

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