When the pandemic hit, Gallery on Penn (our retail incubator space for minority and women entrepreneurs on Penn Ave) was forced to close like many other East Liberty businesses. But it wasn’t long before our dedicated director, Tammy Thompson, sprung into action, converting the gallery into an emergency relief center to provide emergency essentials to the most vulnerable populations in our community. A survey was developed and shared by Circles Greater Pittsburgh and a few partners to gauge the immediate needs of those affected.
“We understood the need, and it was clear the needs were directly aligned with the work we do and affected the populations we serve.” – Tammy Thompson
Learn more about the center and the services it’s providing below in our q&a with Brandi Taylor who is serving as the center’s emergency crisis manager.
What resources is the center offering and to whom?
We prioritize the resources to those who have completed the survey. We currently have a total of 626 Surveys; however, all resources are available to anyone in need.
We replenish our stock of household items such as cleaning products and laundry detergent, paper products, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, infant formula, diapers, and wipes etc. a minimum of once per week.
The Emergency Crisis Center (ECC) has also partnered with the EAT Initiative to serve as a distribution site for freshly prepared meals every Friday beginning at 3 pm until they are gone. We often receive one time donations that aren’t maintained in our stock such as fresh produce, dozens of eggs, and laptops. We accept it all and appreciate the opportunity to serve as a hub.
How can people get access to these resources?
The ECC is occupying the Gallery on Penn located at 5935 Penn Avenue. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Anyone interested in completing a survey can do so here. We send emails to those who have completed surveys to remind them to call and schedule an appointment that best fits their schedule Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between the hours of 12-5 pm. If anyone has additional questions or concerns they can leave us a message 412-623-9596. Since we’re operating with a skeleton staff, we are unable to answer calls immediately, but we will return any messages that are left within 48 hours.
How can people donate?
We are open to accept donations Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 12-5 pm. The donations we’ve received thus far have come mostly from everyday constituents. We’ve also received grants from The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation specific to the COVID-19 emergency response and replenish the majority of our items through those resources.
We are currently in need of:
- toiletries, for men and women,
- household cleaning products,
- laundry detergent,
- feminine hygiene products,
- diapers, wipes etc.
If anyone would like to leave a donation that is hefty in size/quantity, we’d prefer for them to schedule a drop off time. They can leave a message on the Circles voicemail (412-623-9596) and someone will return their call.
Support Gallery on Penn
Gallery on Penn may be temporarily closed, but you can still support our entrepreneurs by shopping the recently launched virtual Gallery on Penn. If you have the means, please consider supporting these businesses in this time of need.