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September 30, 2004

Pitt Plans Food Drive to aid Flood Victims

Pitt is launching an emergency nonperishable food and household cleaning items drive tomorrow, Oct. 1, to benefit local flood victims.

Allegheny County officials estimate that 7,000 homes and 1,000 multi-family and business properties were damaged during the Sept. 17 flooding caused by hurricane Ivan.

Flooding in the region has led to a complete depletion in the inventory at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “This, combined with the destruction of some local food pantries, has created a greater need than ever for the services of the Food Bank,” said Pitt Volunteer Pool coordinator Steve Zupcic. “We ask that you bring as many canned goods and household supplies as you can afford with you to work over the next several days.”

The most needed food items include baby formula and food, chunky soups, peanut butter, ready-to-eat meals, tuna, meats, cereals and other highly nutritious foodstuffs. Household items, particularly soaps and cleaners, also are needed. Bulk commodities can be donated, Zupcic said.

Campus collections sites for the food drive include: Alumni Hall, Lytton Street lobby; Bellefield Towers lobby; Biomedical Science Tower entrance lobby; Cathedral of Learning, ground floor elevators lobby; Craig Hall lobby; Graduate School of Public Health, first floor lobby; Hillman Library, Bigelow lobby; Information Sciences Building, fifth floor lobby; Law Building lobby; Posvar Hall, main floor elevators lobby; Scaife Hall, second and fourth floor lobbies; William Pitt Union Fifth Avenue lobby, and University Library System libraries. For additional information or bulk food pick-up, contact Zupcic at 412/624-7709 or


A sample of other institutional efforts at flood disaster relief here include:

* The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), part of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the Katz Graduate School of Business, is offering confidential, no-fee consulting services to help small companies that suffered loss or damage during the Sept. 17 regional flooding. SBDC will provide assistance in loss documentation and claim filing; establishing short-term and permanent replacement facilities, and assessing environmental clean-up options. In addition, the SBDC consultants have been trained and are skilled in helping firms apply for U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans and other sources of private, state and federal financial assistance.

According to Brenda Hetrick, SBDC spokesperson, the center to date has had requests for help from 12 companies at its Oakland office. SBDC also has satellite offices serving Greene and Washington counties where there have been 15 additional requests to date. According to SBDC director Chris Kush, to be considered for any forms of disaster assistance, victims first must call and register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800/621-FEMA (3362).

Loan amounts and terms are set by the Small Business Administration and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.

“Business owners should be sure to inventory their situation, protect their remaining assets and gather important business and legal documents, and then contact our office for additional assistance,” advised Kush. For more information about the SBDC and the assistance it offers to businesses in western Pennsylvania, call 412/648-1542.

* The 2,000 employees at Magee-Womens Hospital took up a collection, raising $1,300 in donations to the Salvation Army.


The county-wide effort coordinating flood relief is centered at the Physical Education Building on the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)’s Allegheny campus. The building is located at 845 Ridge Ave. on the North Side.

CCAC has been named an Allegheny County Disaster Recovery Center, featuring “one-stop shopping” for flood victims.

Some 50 emergency workers, representing various government agencies including FEMA, are available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week at CCAC. The center is expected to remain open 2-4 weeks.

An appointment is not needed, but flood victims should register and receive a case number from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (800/621-3362) prior to going to the center.

-Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 3

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