When Highpointe at Rebecca resident Virginia “Ginny” Haiges first moved to the community in September 2017, she wasn’t planning on forming an official committee dedicated to supporting the local community, but in the spirit of giving, she found herself at the heart of the project.
“After living here for over a year, my thought was that we should be doing something as a group for the greater community at Highpointe,” Ginny said.
Ginny worked for nearly 40 years as a teacher in York County and Allegheny County. Her time as an educator and as a middle school administrator as well as her mission involvement as a member of Ingomar United Methodist Church gave her a heart for service, which kept her extraordinarily busy – in addition to raising three children with her husband.
Since her retirement and moving to her new apartment in 2017, she has been actively involved in the Highpointe community, taking part in different classes and groups in addition to chairing the Library Committee and leading a monthly team trivia competition. Her desire to give back to the local community led her to meet with Resident Council President Alex Howson to discuss the idea.
“I met with Alex, and he and I discussed doing some community service projects,” she said. “We decided for our first project to donate supplies to the Bethany House Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping reduce the negative impacts of poverty and inadequate education for children in the Northview Heights Community in North Pittsburgh.”
The project in August 2019 exceeded Ginny’s wildest expectations and raised over two pickup truckloads of supplies.
“It was absolutely amazing,” Ginny recalled. “People were really interested in what we were doing and wanted to be supportive.”
Shortly after the first project, Ginny decided to hold two more community service projects in 2019.
The second project in September 2019 was a drive to collect different personal items for the Light of Life Rescue Mission in Pittsburgh, PA, which supports men, women and families experiencing homelessness or poverty in the community. Once again, the Highpointe community raised a significant amount of donations – sending several truckloads of supplies to the center.
The third project of 2019 was a food drive in October for North Hills Community Outreach, which addresses the needs of people in crisis, hardship and poverty in Northern Allegheny County. The project helped the organization stock their food pantry thanks to the generosity of Highpointe residents and local community members.
After the first three projects, a vote was held at the Highpointe Resident Council Meeting to determine if an official committee should be formed, and 10 members joined Ginny – officially forming the Highpointe Community Service Committee.
“You have to want to do this,” Ginny said. “We didn’t want to overwhelm anyone with different responsibilities that they didn’t want to be involved with, but to see how dedicated all of our committee members have been is wonderful. In November after our first three projects, we had our first committee meeting to start planning for 2020. The first three organizations were my choices simply because I knew them. When we planned for 2020, we decided as a committee to support infants and young mothers.”
The fourth project took place shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic in March, and was a donation drive for baby supplies and items for the Women’s Choice for Life through Saint Alexander Nevesky Orthodox Cathedral and Beverly’s Birthdays, an organization dedicated to providing birthday cheer for children experiencing homelessness or who are currently in the foster system, as well as families in need.
One of Beverly’s Birthdays programs is specifically for expectant mothers experiencing homelessness or poverty. The organization hosts a monthly baby shower to provide expectant mothers with needed items and supplies. The Highpointe Community Service Committee raised over $700 in cash and nearly 3,300 items, including homemade quilts, handmade stuffed animals from the Glenshaw Century Club, clothing, bottles, bibs and even wooden cars from the Highpointe Men’s Workshop for both organizations.
Despite the pandemic, the group decided to continue giving back to the community. They didn’t know how timely their next donations would be.
“In April, the St. Mary of Assumption Church in Glenshaw was in need of food donations for their food pantry due to COVID-19,” Ginny said. “So we had an emergency food drive and collected $1,200 in cash and two carloads of food items to donate.”
Shortly after, in June and July, the group had a cash drive to support the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which was also in desperate need of supplies due to the pandemic. This time the committee raised $1,450 in cash, which supplied over 7,250 meals to those in need.
The committee’s final project for 2020 is a toy collection drive for Toys for Tots, sponsored by the Marine Corps and Al’s Bike Drive, an organization that raises cash donations to buy new bikes for the Toys for Tots program. Bigger ticket items, like bikes, must be donated directly to the Marines as they are limited in what they can spend to purchase a toy, which is where Al’s Bike Drive steps in.
“On November 29, we plan to have a drop-off day for all the gifts,” Ginny said. “Donations can be turned in to the Highpointe community room. I’m grateful for all of the support we’ve received so far during each project. People have been so generous and it’s really been heartwarming to see.”
To learn more about the Highpointe Community Service Committee, call Ginny Haiges at 412-760-4677.
For more information about the amenities, activities and services offered to residents at Highpointe at Rebecca, call 724-444-1521 or message us through the contact form on our website. You can also check out our interactive Care Levels and Services map for more information about the retirement community services offered at our locations in Western PA, Eastern OH and Tampa, FL.