When a passion for one career shifts by a calling to help others enjoy the most basic needs that most take for granted.
Matty Tippit-Soto, once on a path of getting her Juris Doctor degree, is now the Agency Relations and Snap Coordinator at the Westmoreland Food Bank.
Are you from Pittsburgh? Have you ever lived anywhere else?
My hometown is Salem, Massachusetts—it’s where I spent a lot of my childhood and where I graduated from college. I also lived in Sarasota, Florida for a lot of my formative years.
Tell us a little about your family.
My immediate family includes my husband, Arlo, and my four-year-old daughter Noelia. Our extended family is spread out across the country, with relatives in Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, the Dominican Republic, and even Japan. Having family all over gives us great reasons to travel!
How did you choose the career you’re in today?
I majored in Sociology and Philosophy (with a concentration in Philosophy of Law) during my time as an undergraduate, fully intending to earn a J.D. and practice family law. During an internship at the district court, however, it became increasingly clear to me that the reason so many people in my community were struggling was not a lack of legal representation. It was the inability to meet their basic needs that left many with court summons for petty theft, that led to homelessness, or that created the tensions that divided families. I knew then that I needed to actively participate in helping families make ends meet—and now that’s what I do every day!
What do you love most about your job?
Outdoor distributions are my absolute favorite. It’s not always easy when the sun is blazing or it’s pouring rain, but there’s nothing more satisfying than ending a workday knowing that you played a part in making sure someone has food for their supper that evening.
Why do you think it’s so important to give back to your community?
I mainly grew up in larger urban and suburban areas, where the importance of community is evident no matter what your socio-economic status is. Everyone needs a kind neighbor or a helping hand at some point during their lives, and the more support there is within a community, the less likely it is that any one of its members will experience challenges alone.
Why do you volunteer with United Way?
Working with United Way is important to me because few organizations have the reach or the ability to impact local communities the way that United Way does, both in terms of helping fund local programming, but also in bringing communities together through volunteering opportunities and their local campaigns.
What is your favorite United Way memory?
My favorite United Way memory is participating in a Next Gen event held at First Energy in 2019. As a recent transplant from Massachusetts, attending that event really gave me a better sense of the landscape of the industries in Westmoreland County, and gave me a chance to connect with other young professionals in the area. It made me feel so welcomed and invested in the community!