Beautiful Blog

HDG Blog: Giving Back During COVID-19

June 1, 2020

As part of our focus as architects to design and build strong communities, each year since 2016 HDG has taken the opportunity to showcase our profession and use our team’s skills to help keep important local landmarks and architectural icons maintained.  Our Annual Adopt-a-Landmark day of service typically takes place in May, as it coincides with the national Register of Historic Places’ Preservation Month, a month-long celebration of historic places for the purpose of instilling national and community pride and the benefits of historic preservation. Our past Adopt-a-Landmark programs have included volunteering at historical landmarks through the Pittsburgh region, including Fallingwater in 2016 (one of the most recognized architectural landmarks in the world), Woodville Plantation in 2017, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie in 2018, and most recently, in 2019 we volunteered at the architecturally significant Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Pittsburgh’s North Side, a National Historic Landmark. During this company-wide day of volunteering, we have provided services such as weeding, mulching, edging, gardening, building fences, leveling planting beds and gravel parking lots, resetting railroad ties, cleaning, and helping with a mosaic mural.

With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, we were sad to have to put our company’s plans for our 2020 Adopt-a-Landmark program on hold, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been able to give back to others during this time. Below are just a couple of ways our people are finding ways to give back:

Kelsey Thomas, Architectural Designer at HDG, volunteers throughout the year at the Rosedale Food Pantry, which operates out of the Rosedale United Methodist Church in Verona. Kelsey has continued her commitment to serve the local Penn Hills community especially during this time, when the need has become even greater.  Typically, the Penn Hills food pantry serves 175 to 200 families per week, but with increased demand due to the effects of COVID-19, they have been serving approximately 300 families!

“I was concerned when I heard about the amount of new families we were getting due to the pandemic,” said Kelsey. “But, we have accrued some new volunteers during this time and have been able to help even more families. While it is not the best of circumstances, I believe it has been a great opportunity to meet some new people and see how strong our community can be.”

For those interested in volunteering at the Rosedale Food Pantry, call 412-302-2509. To donate, make checks out to “Rosedale Food Pantry” to 448 Geisler Drive, Pittsburgh 15221.

Tim Reidy, Project Architect at HDG, put any extra time he had while working from home over the past two months during COVID-19 into designing, building, and installing a free little library for use by his local community.  Tim put his architecture skills to good use by creating the design, then printing scale drawings for some of the kids in his neighborhood to “kid-source” and provide their ideas for the final design. Tim even offered to share his drawings with others who’d like to build one, and these could be used not only to share books, but possibly food or other items for those in need.  For other architects or those interested in the DIY details, the “library” was made out of a single sheet of 3/4″ exterior-grade plywood and a treated 4×4 post. It’s made with traditional joinery (except the 3′ post) with a touch of architectural detailing so the books will stay dry during inclement weather.


During this time, COVID-19 is creating new needs, while putting enormous financial pressure on many nonprofits. The economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic may cause many donors to limit donations. Many nonprofits are also having to cancel many of their usual fundraising events and other programming out of concern for public safety, putting them in an even more difficult position. Also, due to health and safety considerations, many regular volunteers, particularly those who are at higher risk, may need to restrict their usual commitments, leaving organizations who depend on these volunteers shorthanded while needs continue to rise.

What you can do:

Reach out to local charities and ask how you can best support them with your time, keeping safety in mind. If you are in a financial position to do so, please consider making a donation to directly help combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and help those in need. Giving back, even in small ways, can make a world of difference right now.

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