PITTSBURGH (April 2, 2007) Asking people to demand an end to the status quo and bring an end to hunger in Western Pennsylvania, Scott Lammie, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of UPMC Health Plan, officially opened the 21st annual Scouting for Food drive.
Lammie, chair of the drive that collects food for the more than 120,000 residents served by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, spoke at the drives opening news conference held today at the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard in downtown Pittsburgh. Lammie also introduced the two honorary co-chairs of the drive Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
Hunger and food insecurity has become a national public health issue and is a growing problem in our area, Lammie said. We are proud to again partner with the Boy Scouts and the Food Bank to not only collect food and other items for those in need, but to raise awareness and support.
More than 6,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Scout leaders in the Greater Pittsburgh Council will participate in the drive, as will an estimated 260,000 employees in companies, government agencies, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations. Scouting for Food continues throughout April.
Lammie said the food drive was part of an ambitious public awareness campaign to get people in this region to understand the scope of the hunger problem and to motivate them to do something about it.
The goal of this years drive, Lammie said, is to improve on last years effort, which generated more than 5 million units of products, valued at $3.7 million. The 2006 drive results represented a 37 percent increase over 2005.
Volunteerism and helping others in need is what makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, said Ravenstahl.
Onorato said volunteer efforts and generous donations are needed because government alone cant fix these problems. An estimated one in five Pittsburgh residents live in poverty, and an estimated one in nine Allegheny County residents live in poverty.
As part of the ceremony to officially open the drive, Onorato and Ravenstahl presented Paul Szuhay with the first bags of donated food. Szuhay, an Eagle Scout from Troop 148 in Crafton, is serving as the Scouting for Food drives official ambassador and is featured in Public Service Announcements that air this month on local television.
About UPMC Health Plan
UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in Western Pennsylvania, is owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the nation's top-ranked health systems. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division which includes UPMC Health Plan, Work Partners, EAP Solutions, UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to nearly 1 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 80 hospitals and more than 7,000 physicians in a 28-county region.