An annual Thanksgiving celebration organized by South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM) fed about 50 happy people at its first run in 2006. On Thursday night, that number grew to about 200 people, and that's only because auditorium couldn't hold anymore.
Originally organized to celebrate both Thanksgiving and the announcement that SHIM was opening the in early 2007, SHIM's annual November dinner has grown to where it took two full bus trips to bring refugee and immigrant families from 's area to The Whitehall Church on East Willock Road on Thursday.
Volunteers from Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and other organizations descended on the church to help serve a Thanksgiving dinner to those families from in and around Baldwin-Whitehall, most especially from the Prospect Park area.
Families serviced by SHIM, as well as SHIM employees, prepared the food that was to be shared. The choices ranged from American Thanksgiving staples, such as turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, to items more typical of some SHIM families' native countries, such as roti (from Bhutan), pumpkin curry (from Burma) and a couscous and cauliflower combination (from Morocco).
According to its website, SHIM's Prospect Park Family Center was established through funding from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services after Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh and Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh began in the Prospect Park area over a decade ago. Prospect Park has also become home to many immigrant families.
The Family Center is free to all families living in the area and focuses primarily on families with children aged 5 years or younger. All of the Family Center's programs intend to provide needed services for those adjusting to life in the United States. The programs also promote self-sufficiency through education and help children to succeed in learning, including at .
Scroll through the photo slideshow found near the top of this page to enjoy part of Thursday's experience.