Food Bank Worker Shares Insights

Nov 15, 2019

Amber Deemer, with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, spoke to the Cal U community as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

food bank

Amber Deemer, a trained dietitian and development officer for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, spoke at Cal U’s Vulcan Theatre about food insecurity on Nov. 14. 

Her presentation was part of the What’s the T? Thoughtful Discussions About National Narratives, a monthly series sponsored and developed by the Student Affairs Diversity Committee.   

It was also the first of several initiatives during Cal U’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week that were planned by the Center for Volunteer Programs and Service Learning. 

Deemer said the food bank services 400 agencies in 11 counties. Food insecurity — the lack of access to safe and nutritious food — affects one in seven American adults and one in five children.

“Food insecurity does not look like one particular person — they’re not white, not black not tall or short,” she said. “Food insecurity looks really different for a lot of different people, and there’s a lot of negativity surrounding it.

“It’s also something that can happen to any of us at any time.”

Last year, with the help of some 6,000 volunteers and funding from Feeding America, the food bank distributed 10 million pounds of produce and 35.5 million meals.

“Those are numbers we are really proud of,” she said. “But we still have a long way to go, and want to get to 60 million meals by 2025.”

Deemer met with Diane Hasbrouck, the director of the Center for Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, and students who are involved in the Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week and assist with the Cal U Cupboard food pantry. 

The cupboard is located in the Natali Student Center, Room 119. In addition to school supplies, apples, and hygiene items, it stocks canned food, microwavable meals, pasta, breakfast items and snacks.  

Office hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays; the Cupboard is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays. For information, call 724-938-4793 or email

“Coming here today was really encouraging, and speaking with Diane and her students, I realize how much they love this community,” Deemer said. “You are doing awesome things here that may not seem huge, but they are.

“This makes me want to go back and do more, truly.”

Jahneek Fant, a sophomore secondary education and mathematics major, who is a community assistant in Smith Hall, found the presentation worthwhile. He attended with other CAs.

“I wanted to learn different ways to advocate about food insecurity and apply that to my residents, to let them know that someone is there for them if they have any food problems,” he said. “We have the support here on campus and perhaps there’s a way to have at least canned food or some mini pantry available for people in our hall.

“We came to learn and this was good.”