Inaugural Food Drive - Jan '09


The Need in South Hills:  James Duffey, Executive Director of SHIM, the South Hills Interfaith Ministries, stated in December in an The Almanac that the demand for food from its pantry ballooned from 120 families plus 200 individuals to more than 300 families and 1,000 individuals in less than 6 months. Donations had dropped over the same period creating a desperate situation.

Our Response:  Over 3000 pounds of food and more than $400 were collected in the MESH food drive conducted from January 17 through Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day on January 20, as part of the January 19 National Day of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Process Highlights:
MESH, founded by 6 local Obama campaign volunteers, adapted the campaign's winning online strategies to recruit members and conduct its first project. Eighty members were recruited in two weeks, with over half actively involved in the food drive. Timely development of a “Google Map” for pinpointing drop-off sites and the organization’s website,, allowed the deployment of flyers, instructions for various roles, and other critical communications. Volunteers chose their own roles and downloaded detailed instructions, so that the entire operation took place without a single meeting.

  • Commercial Drop Off Sites: Molly Brannigan's, Colussy Chevrolet, Chicago’s Pizzeria and Ice, HealthTrax Fitness and Wellness, Asti’s Pharmacy, and Napoli Da Valentino Restaurant
  • Prominent Muncipal Drop Off Sites: Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Bridgeville Library, Upper St. Clair Library
  • 20 Residential Drop Off Sites covering Bridgeville, Bethel Park, South Park, Mt. Lebanon, and Upper St. Clair.

Electronic communication played a vital role in creating enthusiastic response. Although public cable announcements aired in some South Hills communities and outreach to other organizations such as the League of Women Voters and Temple Emanuel garnered support, project leaders relied on the civic spirit of more than 500 Obama campaign volunteers to deliver the lion’s share of the goods in the short time frame. They were not disappointed.

Food Drive Project Page and Tools