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Plus, meet the Pittsburgh pastry chefs competing on Food Network and local Chanukah events to celebrate the occasion.
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💛 How to support your neighbors this Giving Tuesday

Plus, local Chanukah events to celebrate the occasion.

By Francesca Dabecco

It’s Giving Tuesday, Pittsburgh.

What’s Giving Tuesday? Glad you asked. It’s a global movement that encourages folks to give their time, money, and talents to causes and organizations they care about.

The past two years of the pandemic have been especially difficult, and local giving matters now more than ever. There are lots of ways to contribute to causes that help make our community stronger, healthier, and more inclusive. Start with Pittsburgh Magazine’s Give Big website, where you can easily browse and learn more about the participating local charities and nonprofits.

In our book, local giving doesn’t have to happen in just one day. Pittsburgh City Paper shared seven ways to give back to Pittsburghers in need this holiday season, including the Children Museum’s Sweater Drive, a food bank drive, the City of Pittsburgh’s Snow Angels program, and more.

And if you’re looking to contribute to causes tackling larger issues but aren’t sure where to begin, I’ve got the scoop on a new platform created by a Pittsburgh native that makes giving easy, fun, and convenient by doing all of the hard work for you. It’s called PennyLoafer, and you can find out more about how it works by watching our Instagram Live interview with founder Andi Thieman.

Scroll for a few of my giving suggestions and some causes near and dear to my heart. And to our Jewish neighbors, don’t think we forgot about Chanukah — I’ve gathered some local ways to celebrate down below.

But first, let’s catch yinz up on the news after our little holiday hiatus.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

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3 things to know today 

📋 Mayor-elect Ed Gainey began assembling his transition team last week to assist with staffing, public outreach, and forming policy committees. The effort will be led by Angel Gober, director of the activist group One Pennsylvania, as well as Silas Russell the political director of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. Gainey has also offered members of the outgoing administration a chance to continue working with the city going forward, a proposition not always offered amid administrative change. More information about Gainey and his transition team can be found via gaineytransition.com. You can also weigh in directly by completing a community survey or contacting the transition team with your questions or concerns. (TribLIVE / 90.5 WESA)

🌳 The pandemic has hastened the need to protect urban green spaces in Pittsburgh, and the Allegheny Land Trust is doing just that by making sure community gardens and other natural lands don’t turn into housing developments. As noted by 90.5 WESA, these green spaces offer more than just outdoor recreation — they improve air and water quality in addition to supporting biodiversity in native wildlife. ALT has protected more than 3,300 acres of land since its inception in 1993 and continues to engage locals interested in land protection through community outreach. (90.5 WESA)

  • Quotable: “Pittsburgh traditionally built every square inch of the city,” said Alyson Fearon, senior director of community conservation and resiliency. “We firmly believe that some areas of the city should remain green space for safety reasons as well. Vegetation stabilizes landslide-prone hillsides, and it could manage storm waters … much better than some man-made [structures]. It should be a marrying of green solutions.”

🐧 Boston-based Fenway Sports Group is set to become the new owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins pending approval from the National Hockey League Board of Governors. Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will remain partial owners, and the team’s management will continue in their roles. (90.5 WESA)

  • How is the community reacting? Considering that Fenway Sports Group’s investment in Fenway Park fueled area gentrification, residents of the Lower Hill District are concerned about a similar trend in their neighborhood. The community has already faced displacement historically, and while the Penguins say that the change in ownership won’t affect the team’s commitment to the Lower Hill redevelopment effort, local groups are questioning the advancement of the former Civic Arena site. (PublicSource)

3 things to make you smile

“Sparkle and Shine” is this year’s theme for the extravagant “Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden” at Phipps Conservatory. There’s plenty of new sights to behold, including a reflective wonderland with twinkling silver trees and mirror tree toppers, a nontraditional display with a color scheme inspired by iridescence in nature, dazzling trees with signature floral lights, a glowing ice palace, and more. It’s all on display until January 9. (TribLIVE)

🎄Two Pittsburgh pastry chefs put up a fight in a baking battle on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown, which aired last night and is now available to stream on Discovery+. Marla Mae Harvey and Daniel Wilson have been pals since they worked together at Butcher and the Rye in 2015, and the duo did their best to complete the gingerbread construction in 10 hours while also following an extra baking challenge. (Pittsburgh City Paper)

🎶 Pittsburgh indigenous leader Miguel Sagué Jr. will release his debut album, Songs from the Stone Hoop, next week. The album honors the sound of traditional music by the Taíno people of the Caribbean. Sagué has Taíno lineage on his father’s side, and the album includes 11 tracks inspired by indigenous culture. All but one of the songs are originals composed for the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle, an organization he co-founded four decades ago to connect with those seeking to reclaim their indigenous spiritual traditions. (90.5 WESA)

🕯️ Happy Chanukah!

Hey Jewish neighbors, are you ready for the Festival of Lights? Chanukah began at sundown this past Sunday and ends the evening of December 6. There are plenty of places and ways to celebrate in Pittsburgh this week:

Today

💰 Make change in the community by sparing some change with Give Big Pittsburgh (Online)

🍠Learn how to make latkes and talk about food justice with 412 Food Rescue and Repair the World (Online)

📸Smile for the camera and get a fresh new headshot at the Pittsburgh Glass Center with Porter Loves (Garfield)

Tomorrow

✨Get lost in the illusions with magician Siegfried Tieber in Sixty-Seven Keys at Liberty Magic (Downtown)

🖋️Learn the principles of modern calligraphy (all supplies included) with Ketchup City Creative (Sharpsburg)

Thursday

🎻Enjoy a mix of classical music with contemporary sounds with a performance by Black Violin at the Byham Theater (Downtown)

Friday

🛍️Find holiday gifts, take classes, and visit exhibits along Penn Ave. arts district with Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn (Bloomfield / Garfield)

Promotion from Pittsburgh Young Professionals

🎄 2021 Holiday Jingle Mingle

Kick-off your holiday season with an evening of holiday cheer, complimentary appetizers, and establishing new connections @Fairmont Hotel.

Reserve Your Spot for Thurs. Dec 2

One more thing…

🌟 There are so many amazing local organizations worth contributing to, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to one very near and dear to my heart Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This organization truly transforms the lives of children facing critical illnesses and their families, giving them a sense of hope when they need it most. I know this first hand because I was a wish kid myself. If you’re looking for a cause to support, I can’t say enough about the incredible work of our local Make-A-Wish chapter.

Here are some others to consider:

  • Fight food waste and community hunger while protecting the environment by donating to or volunteering with 412 Food Rescue.
  • Support native tree conservation by donating to or volunteering with Tree Pittsburgh.
  • Give your neighbors in need a second chance through the power of food by supporting Community Kitchen.
  • Contribute to a creative hub for a community of marginalized voices by donating to BOOM Concepts.
  • Help refugees and immigrants become proud Pittsburghers by donating to or volunteering with Hello Neighbor.

Happy giving!

— Francesca at The Incline

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