Shaler Area Middle School, Christ Lutheran Church team up for collection drive -

Shaler Area Middle School, Christ Lutheran Church team up for collection drive

Trib logo Katie Green

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | 3:03 PM

Shaler Area Middle School has held collection drives for Christ Lutheran Church in Millvale before, but the most recent drive was spurred out of the needs that the coronavirus crisis has brought.

Middle school principal Eric Stennett got the ball in motion after attending a church council meeting, during which concerns were raised about local families in need.

“I mentioned that there are Shaler Area teachers who wanted to help and the idea was developed to contact faculty at Shaler Area Middle School to help the church raise money,” Stennett said.

He tapped middle school activities director Tom Gray and teacher Shelley Wet to lead the initiative.

Cash, checks and grocery store gift cards were collected. As of press time, the total exceeded $2,600.

“Christ Lutheran has a long history of caring for the community around us. The effort to help folks with Shop ‘n Save gift cards is a cooperative project between CLC, the Shaler teachers and Element Church,” said Christ Lutheran Pastor Scott Olbert. “Efforts are multiplied when we work in cooperation with others.”

The collection is ongoing and in order to abide by Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, Stennett said that all donations should be mailed directly to the church at 917 Evergreen Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15209.

Olbert said that the church’s administrative assistant, Patty Ellison, is in the church office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and that a system of distributing the gift cards that keeps everyone safe is in place.

The church has been posting a worship experience at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays on its Facebook page,

Olbert is also making sure to keep in touch with the congregation. “We created a Caring Call Team that is reaching out by phone to every member to touch base and see what needs might be out there,” he said, adding that he has a great paid and volunteer staff and forward-thinking group of congregational leaders.

“In the midst of the pandemic, we are planning our second annual Millvale Community Carnival in August,” Olbert said. “How great would that be if we were able to celebrate together in August?”