It is finally November, and along with the anticipation for the upcoming holidays comes the inevitable focus of shopping. While we love to spread seasonal cheer by spoiling our friends and family with gifts and goodies, it is also important to step back from the commercial world. Recently, we were able to interview Reid Carpenter, founder of Amen to Action. Amen to Action is dedicated to giving back and moving away from commercialism- especially Black Friday. Their pure goodness and overwhelming love for Pittsburgh and their faith encourages individuals from all walks of life to volunteer and feed those who are in need of hot meal.

  1. At Popular Pittsburgh we love your goal to “connect people of all faiths, [to] create a platform of spiritual capital”. What originally inspired Amen to Action and how did you decide to venture into packing meals for those in need?

This year is our third annual Amen to Action event, an annual meal-packing event that brings together thousands of volunteers on Black Friday. Coming out of 2016, after the 200th birthday of the city of Pittsburgh, and the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I knew we needed to do something to gather people in unity and service in the city. I joined forces with Steve Popper, CEO and President of Meals of Hope, along with other local leaders, and strategized how to pack a million meals for the city of Pittsburgh’s hungry and less fortunate.

  1. How has your faith and spirituality help guide the mission of Amen to Action?

At the foundation of my faith is the mandate to love one another. My spirituality and belief in the power of unity inspired Amen to Action’s mission, which is to connect people of all faiths, creating a platform of spirit and harmony, all while helping to make a difference.

  1. How would you describe the atmosphere of Amen to Action? What does the day typically entail from start to finish? And most importantly, how can people help?

The atmosphere of Amen to Action is one of resilience, joy, hard work, love, and all around fun. Thousands of volunteers begin to arrive around 8:00 a.m., where they are assigned to a table to pack meals. Participants gather together in an assembly line of about 15 people, celebrating and enjoying lively music as they pack over a million meals. The event is open to everyone, and we encourage people to register to volunteer or donate on our website at https://amentoaction.org, our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/amentoaction/, or our Twitter page at https://twitter.com/AmenToAction.

  1. Now that you have had such success and are soon hosting your 3rd annual Amen to Action this November, where do you hope to see Amen to Action in 5 years?

Amen to Action should be seen as both a concrete event that helps the poor and vulnerable people of the greater Pittsburgh area, and as a symbolic event that teaches all of us to love each other, to care about others, and to demonstrate to the world what a caring community looks like. We hope to see Amen to Action continue to grow over the years, bringing in as many volunteers as we can to serve the greater good of the city.

  1. What do you believe is the biggest impact of an event like Amen to Action?

Amen to Action breaks away from what is usually a day focused on consumerism, Black Friday. Instead, it shines a light on what really matters during the holiday season: giving back. The event shows tangible love, by gathering together and packing meals, it offers up an opportunity to connect people across all faith backgrounds. Rather than spending the day shopping, volunteers come together to truly make a difference for those in need.