Hunger is a serious issue in our region, and a growing concern in all communities. A very large percentage of those seeking food assistance in 2012 are indeed among the working poor, and employed by for-profit organizations, many of which make large donations to anti-hunger causes.
It will take time to analyze this move by UPMC in terms of the size of their endowment, the number and average family size of people they employ (how many are part time, with spouses who lost jobs in the past year?), projected revenues vs operating costs, and executive salaries. Absent this information, I am reluctant to comment directly on this initiative.
I would, however, like to make clear a distinction that is often neglected in the press and by the public at large: UPMC is creating a *Food Pantry*, not a *Food Bank*. A Food Bank is generally a membership-based organization that serves as a clearinghouse for food, other grocery items, financial and programmatic support for food pantries, onsite feeding agencies (AKA "soup kitchens"), and other hunger programs throughout their service area.
In SWPA, our largest food bank serves 11 counties, about 400 member agencies, and (through these agencies) hundreds of thousands of individuals. Pantries are vital to the food security of countless families in our region. However, by misusing the term "Food Bank" to describe a pantry, the CP unintentionally downplays the scale of the work performed by actual food banks. Perpetuating this misconception could hurt these organizations' efforts to raise the operating funds and public support vital to furthering their mission.