NHCO Block Party features food and fun for families


Courtesy photo

A local child enjoys the NHCO Block Party, 2018.

Rob Velella, North Campus Advisor

Princesses and superheroes greeted kids and families at the annual Neighborhood Block Party organized by North Hills Community Outreach last month.

The event, held at the Chadwick on Perry Highway just a few blocks from CCAC North Campus, is the most important fundraiser hosted by the local organization. But, the Neighborhood Block Party is about more than raising money.

“This is our signature fundraiser for the year, but it’s also a friend-raiser,” says Jennifer Kissel, Director of Development and Communications for the group. “NHCO is a grassroots organization and we can only do all we do because of the generous support of the community, and this event reflects that.”

The event is specifically geared to families. “We want our supporters to be able to bring their families and enjoy a nice evening, and we’d like new people to come and learn a bit about what NHCO does,” says Kissel.

The Block Party included food, games, activities for kids, a silent auction, and live music featuring No Bad Juju, an eight-piece band from Pittsburgh. The group’s unique style combines an eclectic mix of classic R&B rock and contemporary music styles.

This is the fifth year the event has taken place, hosted each year by the Chadwick. “It’s always been at the Chadwick and they’re very supportive of our event,” says Kissel. “In fact, they approached us about having it the first year.”

Individuals and businesses in the community support the Block Party by donating prizes and items for the silent auction.

Kissel hopes the fun event helps spread the word about all the good North Hills Community Outreach does.

NHCO is a nonprofit interfaith organization addressing the needs of people living in crisis, hardship and poverty, according to the mission statement on their web site. Families are not charged fees for these services as long as they meet residency and income requirements.

According to Kissel, the group works with people in 50 communities in northern Allegheny County and has served more than 6,000 families in its busiest years.

“We offer 25 programs, ranging from emergency food and financial help to self-sufficiency programs. All are free to those who qualify by income and residency,” says Kissel. She lists among these services budgeting help, disaster relief, education assistance, emergency financial help, food pantries, shuttles for seniors, and a pro bono “Ask the Attorney” program.

The next event to support NHCO is the Loaded Baked Potato Bar at St. Paul’s Methodist Church on April 12. The fee for the event is “pay what you are able,” which Kissel says makes it very friendly for college students. “It is also vegan/vegetarian friendly, gluten-free friendly, and Lenten friendly,” she says.

NCHO was incorporated in 1987. More information is available at nhco.org.