Archive for : Pittsburgh

Carnegie Mellon Pledges Partnership and Support for Repair the World Fellows

This post originally appeared on eJewish Philanthropy on January 28, 2018.

By EJP

Repair the World and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have initiated a strategic partnership to support alumni of Repair the World Communities fellowship who choose to pursue a degree in one of the 25 unique programs in CMU’s H. John Heinz III College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Repair fellowship alumni will receive financial support and more than usual flexibility in timing their start of the program, if they are accepted.

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Carnegie Mellon offers scholarships to Repair the World participants

This post originally appeared on TribLive.Com on January 27, 2018.

By Matthew Santoni

Carnegie Mellon University is partnering with a Jewish community-service organization to offer scholarships in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Participants in New York-based Repair the World’s fellowship program will be eligible for a merit-based scholarship of at least 30 percent of their tuition in the college’s 25 degree programs, and will get options for deferred admission and waived admission fees. Similar to some AmeriCorps programs, Repair the World fellows get a $600-per-month living stipend and insurance in exchange for a year-long commitment to service at non-profit organizations in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit or Miami, with a focus on issues of hunger and education. Pittsburgh partners include 412 Food Rescue, Grow Pittsburgh, Homewood Children’s Village and Just Harvest.

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Repair the World’s Pittsburgh Shabbat Dinner held in East Liberty

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 22, 2018.

By Natalie Bencivenga

When and where: Friday night at the Repair the World headquarters in East Liberty

#ReadBetweenTheLines: Repair the World: Pittsburgh held its annual Shabbat-style dinner in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., this year with a focus on racial disparities in children’s literacy. This free event welcomed people from all ages and backgrounds to break bread together and discuss the topic of educational justice as it pertains to child literacy. “This is a form of resistance,” said Zack Block, executive director. “We want people to become activated and serve in their community to help make positive changes on the micro level. This conversation tonight is just one example of that.”

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Get caught up in the Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s latest exhibit

This article originally appeared in Trib Live on January 12, 2018.

By Mary Pickels

“Repair the World,” 6:30-9 p.m. April 11. Dinner and discussion in collaboration with “Repair the World: Pittsburgh,” digging into immigration and identity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. After exploring “Emigration-Immigration-Migration,” settle in for a night of delicious food and good conversation about these important topics. Free, RSVP requested.

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MLK Day Means a Weekend of Activities in East Liberty

This post originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on January 12, 2018.

By Bill O’Driscoll

Continuing our roundup of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events that didn’t make it into our print issue:

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Q&A with Hal B. Klein of Pittsburgh Magazine

In this sit down interview with Pittsburgh Magazine’s (and Repair the World Pittsburgh Advisory Committee Member) Hal B. Klein, we dive in to his history with food, food justice, Repair the World, and his love for the city of Pittsburgh.

Name: Hal B. Klein
Resides in: Bloomfield, Pittsburgh.
Current Job: Restaurant Critic and Associate Editor, Pittsburgh Magazine
Age: 42

Repair: Tell us a bit about your background.
Hal: I was working as an actor in theater and film, and around 2008 I decided I wanted to try something new. I always had been interested in food, and I found this program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh offering a new Master’s Program in Food Studies. It sounded like a pretty cool multi-disciplinary program looking at food systems, so I decided to give it a shot.

And how did you get into writing about food?
Well I knew I wanted to do something communications related, so I took a food writing class in my program the summer between my first and second year. The professor told our class that the local alternative weekly magazine was looking for someone to write about alcohol. So I pitched the editor there and got the job. Later I became friends with the new restaurant critic for the Post-Gazette. One time she couldn’t do a story and gave it to me. That led to an ongoing freelance gig with them, and then I got my full time job with Pittsburgh Magazine where I am Restaurant Critic and Associate Editor.

How do you approach your work and how do your stories come together?
I’m usually working on one or two big features at a time. I really try to focus on people or issues so my stories are more than just lists about food. One story I did recently focused on international restaurants; I focused on the people running the restaurants so it really became a story about immigrants. I’m now working on a story about people who were incarcerated and are now working in restaurants, which presents both great opportunities but certainly some challenges too. I do about four print columns a month, which includes a restaurant review, and an online column. Another cool thing is that because I’m also an editor, I get to write my own headlines, which is very rare in the world of journalism.

How does your work fit in with the mission of Repair the World?
First I should say that I have not covered food justice issues as much I’d like to, and I really plan to cover it more in the next couple of years. Pittsburgh is fortunate to have organizations like Repair. Change happens when people talk to others from different backgrounds and with different challenges, and together they try to overcome them. I know Repair brings people together to start talking initially, and then to have that conversation lead to action. Going to dinner and hearing from a diverse assortment of people, really having a forum for challenging discussions, will lead to systemic change driven by younger generations. Nationally, food justice is a very serious issue and it manifests itself in ways a lot of us cannot even fathom. I’ve met people who don’t have refrigerators. Organizations and leaders are doing great work. But these are very tough issues—it’s hard to change systems; hard to equalize the playing field; and hard to engage people.

What are you specifically seeing in Pittsburgh with food justice?
Pittsburgh has a lot of people who want to provide food access to as many people as possible. Along with Repair locally, 412 Food rescue uses tech really well to get people food. They have a mobile platform for restaurants to post when they have extra food, and people get alerts so they can then pick up the food and deliver it. This idea of “Tech and human touch” is defining Pittsburgh. We also have a problem that other cities have: how do you pay workers in the kitchen more than $8.50/hour without raising the price at the restaurant of a meal? It’s not easy for customers to understand that cause and effect, but we have to convince people that this makes sense for the economics of society.

What’s Pittsburgh like as a city?
I moved here is 2010 and fell in love with the city. It’s really amazing to see the growth of the city in terms of people and also the number of restaurants here now. This city really is built on people and the enriching and exciting communities they create. Pittsburgh is big enough to have a lot going on, but small enough to have a real feeling of community. You might go somewhere and not know people, but soon enough you talk to people and quickly find a connection. One other defining quality of Pittsburgh is that I haven’t found there to be cutthroat competition like in other cities. There’s healthy competition to do well, but people really help each other too.

And what about the Pittsburgh food scene?
There’s a long history here of Eastern European food; it’s actually known locally as “hunky food,” a term that sometimes used to carry a negative connotation, but is used more often today as a term of endearment. Yet with so many restaurants opening now there’s a re-definition of Pittsburgh food. Some people are taking the Eastern European cuisine and refreshing it; others are trying things more along the lines of the national food scene. And with a newer wave of immigration from China, we’re seeing great regionally specific restaurants popping up serving diners who know how to navigate a regional menu.

And finally, I have to ask – what’s your favorite food?
That’s easy – delicious food.

Food industry can be an entry point for ex-cons seeking to build a new life

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 1, 2017.

By Dan Gigler

Having spent most of his adult life trapped in a vicious cycle between jail and the hustle of the drug trade, Julius Drake got an expected wake-up call in the form of the kitchen spoon to the back of the head.

He was working in the kitchen at the Allegheny County Jail while incarcerated there, when a woman from his neighborhood, a jail employee who worked in food service, bopped him with a spoon and told him he should pay attention. By virtue of working in the kitchen he was developing a trade, and he didn’t even realize it.

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Millie’s Ice Cream to roll out soft-serve with a new truck

This post originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 8, 2017.

By Melissa McCart

Repair the World with pies

This Thanksgiving, Laura Bratkowski — who trained at the French Culinary Institute and previously worked for Momofuku Milk Bar in New York — is baking pies for Repair the World Pittsburgh, a nonprofit outreach, in tandem with bakers providing gluten- and dairy-free pies from Gluuteny in Squirrel Hill. The goal is to sell 300 pumpkin, pecan and apple pies in traditional or modified versions by Nov. 17. Pies range from around $10 to $12 and can be ordered here, with pickup on Nov. 22.

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A Pie Sale for Repair the World!

Laura Bratkowski is a Pittsburgh-based pastry chef who, until recently, had never heard of Repair the World. But last spring, the executive chef at Spoon (the restaurant where Bratowski works) was featured at one of Repair the World’s Chef Series dinners. Excited by what she saw, Bratowski offered to raise money for Repair the World by doing what she does best: baking.

This Thanksgiving, Bratkowski – who trained at the French Culinary Institute and previously worked for Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City – will prepare hundreds of pies to grace local Pittsburgh residents’ holiday tables. All of the proceeds from sales will go to Repair the World’s work. Bratkowski took a few minutes in between planning the pie sale (not to mention working full time as a pastry chef) to share what inspired her to support Repair the World’s work. Check it out and order your pies here!

This sounds like such a lovely project – how did it come about?
I first heard about Repair the World when the executive chef at my restaurant was featured at a dinner event they did in Pittsburgh. I went in expecting some fancy china and champagne dinner, but that wasn’t what I saw. Everything was served buffet style, and people had showed up to hear someone speak about food waste. It was very real, and it was clear that people were there for the right reasons – it inspired me.

In my line of work as a pastry chef, we work crazy hours and you don’t often hear a lot about people giving back to their community. I wanted to do something to help support Repair the World’s work. So I called them up and said, “Count me in for a Thanksgiving pie sale.”

What types of pies are you making?
We are selling all the classics – pumpkin, pecan, and apple. And one of my very good friends at Gluuteny has offered to make gluten free and dairy free versions of the pies. Our goal is to sell 300 pies in total. Spoon graciously offered to let me run the whole operation out of their kitchen, and I’m working with local grocers and 412 Food Rescue to get some donated ingredients.

How can people help out?
We have volunteers coming in along the process – anybody who wants to take part is more than welcome. If they want to come bake, great! If they want to help get the pies packaged and ready for pickup, wonderful. If they just want to purchase and eat pies, that works too!

Do you have a personal connection to Jewish tradition?
No, I was raised Catholic. But to me it doesn’t matter – Jewish, Catholic, whatever – as long as your heart is in the right place. Honestly, I just fell in love with the people at Repair the World. There is nothing fake about them – they are genuine and they deserve somebody to recognize the good that they do.

How can people order pies?
Repair the World set up an order form, so people can choose what they want. The cutoff day to order is November 17, and then we start baking on the 19th. Pie pickup will be on November 22 at Repair the World’s Pittsburgh location.

Repair the World People: Ken Regal of Just Harvest

In the month leading up to Passover, Repair the World is sharing stories that highlight the on-the-ground ways our fellows, volunteers, and partner organizations serve in solidarity to turn the tables on racial injustice. Today, meet Ken Regal, a pioneer of the food justice movement and Executive Director of Just Harvest in Pittsburgh. Then, join our Passover campaign and help us serve in solidarity by hosting and volunteering. Together we can #ActNowForRacialJustice.

These days, food justice is at the forefront of American consciousness. But back in the mid-1980s, years if not decades ahead of its time, Just Harvest pioneered a dynamic anti-hunger organization in Pittsburgh. By linking local poverty with global food challenges – they are talking about food deserts before it was even a term – and combining holistic direct service with education and advocacy, they have become one of the country’s most important food justice organizations.

Over the past 30 years, Just Harvest has stayed true to its core principles that food is a fundamental right and that all people – regardless of their background or circumstances – are entitled to “dignity, rights, and a voice in the policies that affect them.” At the ground level, they help connect low income families to public services like food stamps and school meals, and help foster increased access to healthy, fresh foods within underserved neighborhoods. They also are a resource for individuals and families who need subsidized help with income tax preparation.

On the advocacy level, they lobby and educate on these same issues – childhood hunger, a compassionate approach to benefits, and healthy food access. “Some people see us as mostly an organization that directly helps low income people,” said co-founder and Executive Director, Ken Regal. “But our roots are in policy.”
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