Deana Munoz works for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, but it wasn’t until she was injured in a bicycling accident last summer that she learned firsthand just how quickly life can turn and one can suddenly be in need of help.
Munoz crushed her right ankle and was out of commission for four months, unable to walk, work, drive or do any of the other things that made her self-sufficient. Luckily, she has a large network of support and a good job with paid time off, medical leave and insurance, but the experience drove home what many people who come to the Food Bank are enduring in their lives.
On May 6, she will run the UPMC Health Plan/UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K through the Run for a Reason charity program, raising money for the Food Bank.
“We talk a lot here about medical emergencies and how many people experience food insecurity as a situation brought on by medical emergencies,” she said. “I hit a pothole and fell off my bike. No one plans for that, but you find yourself in those situations. Luckily, I had a bunch of people to pick me back up, but it’s hard to do that if you don’t have the right support and far too many of our neighbors don’t. So I run for them.”
Munoz is still recovering from the accident, but preparing for the 5K is helping her progress. Although she’s not yet able to do more than jog a little right now, she plans to run the full distance on race day. Where she is now is already a vast improvement over the wheelchair and then the crutches she needed last summer. She’s also convinced her sister, father, friend and a few others to join her in the 5K.
“There’s a whole bunch of us who’ll be running together,” said Munoz, who’s worked for the Food Bank for close to two years. “I told them, ‘If I can do it on a broken ankle, you can do it, too.’”
In order to accomplish her fundraising goals, Munoz has relied on her network of family and friends and used social media to share her story.
“My friends and family know I work at the Food Bank but they don’t know why I’m so passionate about food justice, so this gives me an opportunity to share with folks close to me and have a meaningful conversation about something that’s important to me,” she said.
She also finds it helpful to break down donation requests into small increments. She posts on Fridays and uses facts from the Food Bank, such as $1 buys five meals. Then she’ll ask for five friends to donate $10 to help her meet her goal. She believes it helps people to realize that no donation is too small, and everything helps.
“Then as soon as someone donates, I tag them on Facebook or share a picture of me and them or take a picture of myself to send to them saying, ‘This is me celebrating your donation,’ and then following it up with a handwritten thank you card,” she said. “You need to thank people and make them feel special for being a part of what you’re doing and share what their gift is doing to help.”
To donate to Deana Munoz and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, visit her Crowdrise page here:
To learn more about the Pittsburgh Marathon’s Run for a Reason program visit here: