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Be Proactive – Get Help Early.

Foot of newborn baby on warm blanket

It is important to ask for proactive support and get help early. Life changes often lead to major shifts in available resources. Consider taking a proactive approach and make a quick visit to your local food pantry to get support you need. It’s easy to start cutting costs and minimize the importance of nourishing meals during times of change and times of crisis. Food pantries are set up to have an open door to those learning to live on fewer resources. 

Here are some situations when you or your loved ones can be proactive and get support early: 


Arrival of a new baby

A new baby is a huge life change. Welcoming a baby is a joyous occasion but also requires new expenses. This is a great opportunity to get proactive support. When you are doing your hospital tour, also reach out for a tour of your local pantry. A pantry can help get new parents connected to formula, diapers and nutritious food. 

Parenting growing children or adolescents

As kids grow, so do their appetites. When a growing family is already on a tight budget, it can be difficult to keep up with hungry kids. This is a great opportunity to reach out for proactive support from your local pantry. A pantry can help you get connected with resources, support and food to help reduce the financial stress of raising kids.

Moving away from home 

Part of transitioning to adulthood is understanding what support systems are available. When scheduling a college tour, schedule a pantry tour at the same time. Food security may be low on the priority list of a young adult or college student who is newly on their own. It should never take a cash-flow crisis for a young adult to know who to reach out to for help. If they run into into trouble, they can reach out to the Pantry for proactive support. 

Learn more about support for college students: JFCS Youth Services

Divorce or separation

A break-up is a major cause of stress and trauma. Add the complexities of children, joint bank accounts or lease agreements, and healthy food can take a back seat during the transition. If you see that you aren’t going to have the same income as before, reach out to your local pantry for proactive support. It is okay if you don’t need help. But if you do, you already know who can help. 

Retirement, job loss, or career changes

Research shows that retirement or job changes can be one of the most stressful life events, right up there with divorce or death in the family. When budgets shrink, the grocery store checkout line can be stressful. By asking for proactive support, food pantry staff can help you navigate these changes by helping you adjust your food shopping toward healthy, lower-cost choices, and providing immediate help to stock your pantry as you work toward a new normal.

Getting older

As older adults transition from total independence, they may face reduced mobility or the ability to prepare healthy meals. A food pantry can be a lifeline when living on a fixed income, especially when experiencing an increase in medical expenses and inflation across the board. In Pittsburgh, other resources for proactive support include programming through AgeWell Pittsburgh

Keep Nutritious Meals Part of Everyday Life

The food pantry is here for you through every stage of life. When transitioning through seasons of life, it’s important to know the resources available to you and be proactive in asking for help.

If you notice a neighbor or friend experiencing times of change, offer to go with them to tour the local food pantry or tell them where it is. Explain that it’s an easy, no-fuss resource to alleviate stress and stock the pantry so they can focus on staying healthy as they face tumultuous times.  

About JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

The Squirrel Hill Food Pantry has been a cornerstone of JFCS Pittsburgh since 1999. It offers nutritious, fresh food for neighbors meeting income eligibility requirements in the 15217 zip code as well as kosher food for families who live in the Southwest PA region. For more information, visit jfcspgh.org/pantry or call (412) 421-2708.