Don’s Appliances’ Laundry Event Cleans Up for Area Food Bank

Don’s principal Matt Hillebrand and the Food Bank’s Lydia Vanderhill announce the final tally on Facebook.

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Never in its 40 year history has the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (the Food Bank) experienced need on the scale wrought by the current health and economic crisis. Food demand is up 500 percent for the community group, which distributed 1 million more pounds of groceries this March than last year.

Times are indeed tough for those less fortunate, yet the Food Bank continues to fulfill its mission to ensure all of its neighbors have the sustenance they need in this uncertain time.

When the need is this big, you need the entire community to step up in a big way and pitch in. BrandSource member Don’s Appliances answered the challenge by partnering with the GPFB in a campaign called “Don’s Great Giveback,” in which the Pittsburgh chain donated 10 percent of all laundry sales for a two-week period ending May 8.

The promotion was originally planned to last one week but was extended due to the tremendous response from the community. Don’s aim was to raise $25,000 for the food bank but the effort surpassed that goal with a total $27,120.70, enough to provide 135,600 meals.

As a retailer of at-home appliances, Don’s is a natural fit to partner with local food banks as it has done for decades, working with both the Greater Pittsburgh and Washington County Food Banks. As Don’s co-owner Matt Hillebrand observed, “Right now at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it’s the most impactful and immediate way to help our community.”

Sadly,” he said, “some of our neighbors are unsure of where their next meal will come from, and with schools switching to at-home virtual learning, children are at risk of going hungry without access to school lunch programs.”

Hillebrand said the entire team at Don’s Appliances is deeply committed to helping the local economy and see it as an honor and privilege to partner with the GPFB to help provide relief. To that end, the company has humbly asked its loyal customers and circle of associates to consider joining it in the fight against hunger by making a donation. “No amount is too small,” Hillebrand noted.

During the crisis the Food Bank has been packing 3,000 to 6,000 boxes of food a day to meet the needs of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Financial contributions are critical to the food bank and will allow it to continue providing meals to food-insecure folks through large-scale drive-up distribution points, its network of food pantries, and through a “Grab ’n Go” program that provides 25,000 meals a day.

“We are so grateful to Don’s Appliances for their incredibly generous gift, which can help us provide 135,600 meals to the community,” said Lydia Vanderhill, Community Fundraising Coordinator for the Food Bank. “This gift is especially important today, as we are responding to a 500 percent increase in need we have seen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank you for making a life-changing difference for neighbors in need in Southwestern Pennsylvania during this critical time.”

Added Hillebrand, “Our company, our family and our employees all wanted to do something to help out those in need. We want to thank all of our customers for not only supporting Don’s Appliances, but more importantly supporting this great cause. We are very proud to be associated with this great organization.”

The Food Bank has been packing 3,000 to 6,000 boxes of food a day to meet the needs of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Food Bank stats:

  • Every dollar donated can provide five meals to someone in need 
  • There has been a 543 percent increase in demand for food through the Food Bank’s Compassion Corner Emergency Food Program
  • 25,000 “Grab ’n Go” meals have been distributed to children in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County over the last four weeks
  • Ninety percent of incoming calls are for food assistance, with many from people seeking help for the first time
  • Some 8,000 boxes of food are being packaged and distributed to households through low-touch, drive-up distribution points
  • Donations are accepted here.