We support our neighbors.
The Northside Food Pantry, Pittsburgh’s largest with about 1,000 people served each month, is a progressive, nonsectarian nonprofit founded in 1982 over a Thanksgiving meal shared by three pastors of local churches.
All operating individual food pantries at the time, the pastors realized their efforts would have a greater impact if they worked together, the Rev. Patrick Fenton of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Manchester told the Pittsburgh Press, in a profile of the organization published in 1985.
Its doors opened in 1983 as the Northside Common Ministries, with nine churches joining the initial effort. Eventually it would grow to include the support of about 30 Northside churches and expand to offer other services for those in need, including a 25-bed men’s emergency shelter.
The pantry’s first home was the second floor of Calvary Methodist Church on Allegheny Avenue. Three years later, in 1985, it moved to the basement of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on North Avenue. It moved into its current home, a converted church at 1601 Brighton Road, in 1992.
Throughout its years of operation, the pantry has helped Northsiders weather unemployment, retirement and the unexpected expansion of a household as grandparents and aunts and uncles have taken in children in need.
A unique model
It’s been progressive — one of the only pantries in Pittsburgh to offer a supermarket-style experience for those it serves, a more dignified approach that gives those in need a choice over what they receive. It has also always welcomed any neighbor in need.
It takes a village
Staffed by dozens of volunteers and kept going throughout the decades by its dedicated neighbors, the pantry operates on a shoestring annual operating budget of about $67,000. In addition to food costs, building maintenance and administrative services, expenses include one part-time pantry manager and a portion of NCM's executive director's salary. To date, it has not received government funding for day-to-day operations, but relies instead on cash donations and food drives to keep the shelves stocked.
In 2007, it merged with Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh (now Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania). The merger has helped cover some administrative costs and provided additional workforce resources, but NCM operates with its own board of advisors.
The Northside Food pantry is open three days a week, every week a year, plus the third Saturday a month during cold weather.
- In 2012, the pantry served 1,845 households made up of 9,956 people living on the Northside.
- As of August 2013, before the pantry entered its busiest months of the year, 1,406 households had been served by the pantry.
- The Northside Food Pantry processes about 300,000 pounds of food each year.
Our EIN is 25-1458490. Research us on GuideStar. Donate through United Way: Contributor # is 1476.
If you have any questions about our operations, we're happy to discuss them with you. Contact Jay Poliziani, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-323-1163.