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North Hills Monthly

Publishing during the Pandemic

Mar 25, 2020 11:25AM ● By Vanessa Orr

We get it. You’re exhausted just seeing that word in the headline. We’re all trying to deal with a new normal, and no one really knows what’s going to happen next. 

As a magazine, in the past week we’ve gone from printing to not printing, to going online only, back to printing. And then there’s distribution—trying to figure out what sites are open, and what sites are not,  and whether anyone is going to pick up a magazine while they’re at the grocery store when they’ve got so many other pressing things to be thinking about.

Here’s what we decided: We’re going to go ahead as if everything will return to normal in the next couple of months, and we’re going to continue to cover everything that makes the North Hills and Pittsburgh great for as long as we are able to do so.

What we’re not going to do is offer any types of COVID-19 updates here; as a monthly magazine, there’s no way we can keep up on the changes that are happening quite literally, minute by minute. For that, we point you toward the CDC website (, Gov. Wolf’s office (, and Mayor Peduto’s office ( 

Instead, we’re going to celebrate the cool things that people are doing to help our community, and society at large, through this crazy time. As our favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

So, we’re going to focus on what people are doing to help. We want to share stories of neighbors helping neighbors, and shine a light on those whose selfless actions are making the world a better place for the people around them. 

What we’re hoping is that there will be so many examples that we’ll need a website to run them all—and lucky us, we just happen to have one available. So, if you know of someone doing something to help others during this time—from providing free meals, to picking up groceries for a homebound senior, to just making others laugh (while at least six feet apart), we want to hear about it. Email me at, and we’ll do our best to get those stories online, or in upcoming issues, to give everyone something to smile about during these trying times.

Some people and businesses that we’d like to give a shout out to this month:

Giant Eagle, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Primanti Bros.:  With dine-in restaurants closing, and a delay to the start of the Penguins’ season, many employees are being displaced. Giant Eagle is working with the Pens and Primanti’s on a unique partnership to provide jobs in its stores to keep them stocked with the foods and medicines that people need during the pandemic. 

Speaking of, a huge and heartfelt thank you to all of the grocery store workers, food and medicine manufacturers, distribution warehouses and truckers who are keeping the supply lines open and handling the public with grace and patience. (Seriously, people, no one needs to hoard toilet paper. Just stop it.)

All of the health care workers who have shown up at work, day in and day out, at great risk to themselves to provide care for those with the virus, as well as all of the people who already needed their help before the pandemic began. Heroes don’t wear capes; they wear facemasks.

Which brings us to Cranberry Township-based manufacturer MSA Safety that just donated its full stock of 65,000 N95 masks to replenish the stock of Pittsburgh's hospitals and first responders.

The Pittsburgh Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Hillman Family Foundations, and the Heinz Endowments, who have aligned to provide $10 million in relief funds to assist the most vulnerable people in the region with food, health care, and other needs. An emergency fund of $4 million has been established, and the public can also donate at

Of course, there are hundreds of individual stories out there, and we want to share them, too. Let us know about the “helpers” you know, so that we can give them a shout out online.

Remember, we’re all in this together. Be safe, stay home, and know that our community will come out of this stronger than ever.