North Side pantry offers free services to Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ and HIV communities | Pittsburgh City Paper

North Side pantry offers free services to Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ and HIV communities

click to enlarge North Side pantry offers free services to Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ and HIV communities
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation’s Hugh’s Kitchen on the North Side
Hugh’s Kitchen Food Pantry is open for pickup and delivery for members of the local LGBTQ and HIV community in need.

The North Side’s Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation, which aims to improve the health of LGBTQ+ and HIV communities, has offered a variety of services and programs to Pittsburghers since launching in 2017.

Hugh’s Kitchen is a service that was born during the pandemic, providing free food, hygiene products, and safer sex kits to LGBTQ folks throughout the region.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we looked around and said our community is going to need food and resources to get through these tough times,” says Sarah Rosso, executive director of the Hugh Wellness Foundation.

Hugh’s Kitchen assists about 85 LGBTQ and HIV-positive members per week, according to Rosso, but they would like to see that number continue to grow. People in need can sign up online and pick up the items in their Brighton Road office.

“We are here to help any way we can, we try to make it feel like a charity,” Rosso says. “What we do is work with our communities to provide the needs that they deserve.”

The organization is also currently accepting volunteers to help deliver contactless groceries to LGBTQ+ people who aren’t able to pick up their items in person because they’ve been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

And when it comes to those products, quality is also important. “We make sure that we provide access to healthy foods,” Rosso says. “We do our best to try to improve mental health and healthy eating.”

Hugh’s Kitchen is open year-round, especially for holidays because they know those times can be the toughest.

“Every year, we will send out holiday bags to the people within the LGBTQ and HIV community,” Rosso says, who adds they sent out 325 rainbow bags last year. “We have both meat and vegan options so that the whole community can be taken care of.”

Hugh’s Kitchen is open to all and they would like the youth to know that their program is not just for adults. Russo says they recently saw a “huge increase” in youth services.

“We have created a space where members of the LGBTQ and HIV community can come and be who they are,” Rosso says.

Hugh’s Kitchen Food Pantry. 925 Brighton Road, North Side.