In all, we sold 346 tickets to the event! All those guests – plus our bevy of volunteers from Monsanto and Best Buy – spent a wonderful evening at the Ritz-Carlton where they sipped fabulous wines and shopped the latest fashions.
The totals are still coming in, but so far, it looks like we will have surpassed our first-year goal in fundraising! At the Foodbank, 97 cents of every dollar donated goes to hunger relief. So just imagine how many people we can feed with the profits from this great event!
What’s better than having a good time for a good cause!
If you were there, look for your pics on our Facebook page and tag yourself! If you weren’t there, be prepared to want to be at WWS next year!
Special thanks to our sponsors: Monsanto Co., Boeing, Husch-Blackwell, Bryan Cave LLP, ConAgra Foods, Charter Business and the Ladue News. We’d also like to thank our volunteers, the Shoe Guys, Vin de Set, our vintner partners and our fashion partners!
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Think food stamps are something used only by people in far-away, poor communities?
A handy interactive tool from Slate.com will show you just how many folks right in your own community rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps.
As one of the event co-chairs, I’ve been involved in planning this event from the start. Wonderful and generous folks from the St. Louis Area Foodbank staff and its board have joined forces with community volunteers, companies and donors to make Wine, Women & Shoes a rocking good time.
More than 300 tickets have already been sold!
With the event finally so close, I took some time this weekend to shop for the perfect dress and shoes. This is, after all, a fashion event!
I found a dress, but am still looking for the perfect shoes. One of my favorite things about this event will be the “Best In Shoe” contest.
Right after check-in, ladies are invited to strike a pose and let our photographers snap a shot of their fabulous shoes. Our excellent Best in Shoe judges will decide who has the best shoes in three categories:
But I’d like to discuss a 2010 film called The Trip. In this movie, Steve Coogan is hired by a local magazine for three weeks to review fancy restaurants throughout the lush English countryside, including L’Enclume, Hipping Hall and Holbeck Ghyll.
Along for the ride is Rob Brydon, Coogan’s close friend. The two actors play versions of themselves in the film. They share meals, while exchanging impersonations of Woody Allen, Michael Caine and James Bond.
Set against the scenic backdrop of rolling pastures and four star restaurants, the film is about friends ruminating on their personal and professional lives. What’s gone right? What’s gone wrong? How could it have been different? The self-inflicted misery they endure humorously teaches us how we so often forget to appreciate what is directly in front of us – nature, friends and food.
England comprises about 50,000 square miles. It’s a very long trip.
By comparison, the St. Louis Area Foodbank serves more than 14,000 square miles throughout 14 Missouri counties and 12 Illinois counties. Our service territory is about 30 percent of the size of England.
Year-round, our drivers spend much of their days on the road, delivering food to our agencies and picking it up from our donors.
I’m sure if we asked them, our drivers could share some of their favorite stories from life on the road. It might even make a great film.
Patrick Delhougne is the development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Since I have worked at the St. Louis Area Foodbank for more than 15 years, there are countless moments that have truly made my job matter to me.
I was the hired in 1997 as the Foodbank’s first-ever communications coordinator. Right off the bat I knew I wanted to learn more about our member agencies and the clients they serve.
Visiting agencies and getting to know these individuals helped me solidify the message I was asking the community to hear. It worked – so I continued visiting agencies often. I still make agency visits to this day.
Over the years, I have met dozens of people who have inspired me in my nonprofit work at the Foodbank. But there is one moment in particular that always comes to the forefront in my mind.
I met Gene during a lunch-hour visit to a soup kitchen in St. Charles. Gene was a middle-aged man who stopped by the soup kitchen for a meal when he could get away from the jobsite long enough to eat.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. . .
“Jobsite? If he has a job, then why on earth is he at a soup kitchen?”
Here’s why: Gene worked in the construction business, a fact that was evident from his work clothes and the tape measure on his belt. Despite his job, this man had been in need of help for the two months since his wife left.
They were a family of four, Gene said, and seemingly happy, until “she just left” one day. The note explained that she was sorry, and that she was leaving to pursue another life with someone else.
Gene was floored. He had had no idea his wife was unhappy.
To make matters worse, not only did she leave Gene and her two children, she also took the modest funds the family had saved up in their joint checking account.
Gene, as most of us would, began to struggle trying to maintain family expenses. He said he realized he “needed some help after a few weeks.”
As I talked with Gene that day, he told me that he had yet to accept any offers of help from the agency’s food pantry.
He teared up a bit when he said, “I can still feed my kids. I don’t want anyone else taking care of my kids.”
I disagreed with Gene about his unwillingness to accept additional help, but as a father myself, I understood his point.
His income provided enough to maintain some expenses, but when there wasn’t enough money to go round, food was the first item to get cut.
Gene was struggling to feed his children, so, feeding himself became his lowest priority. Lunch at the soup kitchen was his lone meal of the day.
This lunch discussion with Gene has remained a vivid reminder to me why the Foodbank – and the work we do – is so very important. Until things could right themselves, his family needed someone willing to help.
Photo: Feeding America“Across the nation, families in need rely on soup kitchens for a hot meal”
Gene is just one example of the more than 57,100 people helped each week by the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
As for Gene, he did eventually accept help for his kids through our partner agency’s pantry.
Fortunately, Gene ultimately got to a point where he no longer needed lunch from the soup kitchen. I was happy to know that Gene was able to get back on his feet.
But, I’m equally as happy knowing that should the need arise again, the soup kitchen remains open for lunch.
Matt Dace is the senior vice president at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Volunteering at a massive one-day food drive like Stamp Out Hunger is a sure-fire way to discover food items you may not have known existed!
Sure, we get lots and lots of pantry staples like canned veggies, macaroni and cheese, and soup. And we’re certainly grateful for every single item that is donated by our generous community.
But it’s the unusual items that delight and entertain our volunteers as they sort the food at each post office.
At the South County Post Office, volunteers were touched by the St. Louis County resident who donated a jar of spaghetti sauce neatly taped to a coordinating box of pasta.
In Kirkwood, volunteers at the post office were charmed by handwritten thank yous to letter carriers stapled to the bags of food.
Stamp Out Hunger is an annual event that takes place across the nation on the second Saturday in May.
Here in St. Louis, this drive mobilizes not just letter carriers and post office staff, but also St. Louis Area Foodbank employees, pantry staff, community volunteers, high school students and local businesses.
Weeks before the drive, volunteers at the Foodbank neatly folded the plastic bags and attached them to the Stamp Out Hunger reminder cards. From there, we relied on the hard work of letter carriers to deliver them.
With all of our collective efforts, we collected 232,842 pounds of food last Saturday, and there’s still more food rolling in!
With the support of the generous residents of St. Louis city and county, the Foodbank has received 10,000 more pounds than we did from the 2012 drive!
Thanks to all who helped make this drive a success!
At last month’s Agency Conference, our agencies got a sneak peek at some of the exciting new ideas we will be exploring with our partner Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
In last session of the day, Chef David Frattini cooked up a wonderfully healthy and easy minestrone soup. He did a great job of incorporating ingredients that are regularly donated to the Foodbank like dry pasta, canned tomatoes and beans with fresh vegetables that Foodbank staff work to secure from across the country.
Thank you to the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and Chef Frattini for coming out to do this demonstration for our agencies to share with their clients. We’re on a mission at the Foodbank to bring in more fresh fruits and vegetables that can be combined with shelf-stable donations to make healthy meals for those in need.
We look forward to sharing more of great recipes and proper cooking techniques with our agencies and clients soon!
Live Cooking Demonstration by Chef David Frattini, CFSE
For best quality, precook the dried pasta. Bring a medium sauce pot with salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender. Drain pasta, rinse under cool water to stop the cooking, and immediately toss with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil so it does not stick together. Reserve cooked pasta until Step 8.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat.
Add yellow onion, celery, and carrot. Sweat the vegetables until tender. Add garlic. Cook until garlic aroma is present.
Add cabbage. Sweat cabbage until soft.
Add zucchini and yellow squash. Gently cook squash until just tender.
Add tomatoes and their juice and the chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock to preserve as a vegetarian soup).
Bring the soup to a simmer. Make sure the beans are rinsed and well drained. Add beans to the soup and return to a simmer.
Add the cooked pasta from Step 1.
Add the fresh basil and return soup to a simmer.
Check and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Hold soup warm for service.
Prepare baguette crostini. Preheat chargrill. Lightly brush one side of each baguette slice with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Lightly grill each slice of baguette by placing oiled side down on the grate first. Achieve grill marks and lightly toast. As soon as the crostini are removed from the grill, rub the warm crostini with the whole garlic clove. Hold crostini warm for service.
Plate soup for service using one 8-ounce ladle per bowl. Top each bowl with grated parmesan and stand two crostini in each bowl with one end above the level of the soup for easy grabbing. Enjoy!
Allison Jones is theGraphic and Web Design Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
If you’re a St. Louis Area Foodbank supporter, chances are we’ve hit you up to vote for us in some sort of campaign. Or maybe a friend of ours asked on our behalf.
You might be thinking, which time?
In almost every aspect of our lives, we are asked to cast votes. We write names on a dotted line, fill in bubbles, poke holes next to a name, push buttons on a touch screen, raise our hands and say yea or nay.
We vote in local, state and national elections. We vote at PTA meetings and in board rooms.
We vote spontaneously with our friends and family. What type of pizza should be order? Which movie should we see? Such questions are often resolved by someone suddenly declaring let’s take a vote.
A new form of voting has emerged in recent years in which corporations ask the public to decide where grant money should go. I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea. You vote with just the click of a mouse.
On May 13, 2011, St. Louis Area Foodbank competed in a contest conducted by Toyota called 100 Cars for Good. The public voted via Facebook for which nonprofit organization should be awarded a new car. Our supporters rallied for us, and we were fortunate to win a new Highlander Hybrid.
Our Agency Relations staff uses the vehicle to visit our more than 500 partner agencies in the bi-state region. With over 14,000 square miles in our service territory, the Highlander has been a great resource for us. Our Product Sourcing department also uses the vehicle to drop off and pick up materials for community Food & Funds Drives.
These days, more and more companies are turning to these voting campaigns to award grants and prizes to nonprofits. So much so, that it is difficult for a nonprofit to avoid these campaigns.
Last month, we entered another voting contest – Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together. Over 300 hunger relief organizations across the country competed for $45,000 and $20,000 grants.
There were four hunger-relief organizations in the bi-state area that competed inWalmart’s Fighting Hunger Together:
St. Louis Area Foodbank
TWIGS (Granite City, Ill.)
Victory Dream Center (Carbondale, Ill.)
Loving Hearts Outreach (Washington, Mo.)
All four organizations won an award thanks to the tireless efforts of supporters who voted and promoted the campaign online.
Posting or sharing a link to your Facebook wall is the new-age digital version of canvassing door to door, and we’d like to thank everyone who marched around in the digital world in support of our mission.
We understand that you are asked to “vote” one way or another quite often, so please accept our deepest gratitude for taking the time to vote. We know that it can sometimes feel tedious, but your vote really does make a difference.
We just entered a new voting contest – Monsanto’s Grow St. Louis.
Votes can be cast once per day on the Grow St. Louis Facebook page starting on May 6 and ending May 19. Five nonprofits organizations with the most votes will win a $20,000 award.
During a political voting campaign, a candidate attempts to educate the public on his or her position. The candidate also tries to register as many voters as possible – citizens who may not have voted before or perhaps moved to a new address.
The best way to “register” for our voting campaigns is to connect with us on social media. We will keep you informed about our work in the community, and every once in awhile, we will ask for your vote.
Patrick-Delhougne is the Development Associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
As I woke up on Saturday, April 27, 2013, the first thing I did was check outside to see what Mother Nature had given us to work with…
If you remember last Saturday, you’ll understand why I was a little saddened by the gloomy rain.
But then I remembered that the biker community is all about helping children and our veterans. I knew right away that even rainy weather wouldn’t stop the 2nd Annual Bikers for Backs from being a day of sharing and giving back.
I felt moved and blessed as I watched people ride through the rainy parking lot at Shirley’s that morning. While all but one person – John Snyder – left their bikes at home and chose to drive cars due to the rain, each person still carried a colorful backpack filled with kid-friendly food.
At our first stop alone, we collected roughly 50 backpacks and other bags of food. We also sold about 25 t-shirts before we headed out for our next stop.
When we arrived at our second stop, I began laying out the Bikers for Backpacks t-shirts. One gentleman in a Marines Corps vest stopped by the table and said he couldn’t buy a shirt because it wasn’t made by a union worker.
A good friend of mine and ex-Marine, Kel Jensen, overheard the exchange. She walked right over, bought the man a shirt and took it to his table.
Kel explained that the $15 dollar shirt paid for 60 meals for hungry kids. She then pointed over to two tables filled with bikers and said, “‘they are also Teamsters so take your shirt off and put this on!’”
Thanks to Kel, the man walked around the whole time we were there wearing the Bikers for Backpacks shirt!
We shared our third stop location with another charity ride – BAA Bikers against Autism. Due to all the rain, their original last stop of the day in Grafton was under water.
Members of our ride even bid on some of their auction items.
My friend John Snyder grabbed the microphone and explained to everyone in the room how we all came together and shared our day to help out children in need.
The lead singer of the band performing at our stop bought a Bikers for Backpacks t-shirt for $100!
By the end of the day, we had collected $1,373 in cash donations, 63 backpacks and 695 pounds of kid-friendly food.
All in all it was a great event with or without Mother Nature being on our side! Thanks to everyone who weathered the storm. We’ll see you next year!
We would like to thank Wristbands.net for their generous donation of custom wristbands for Bikers for Backpacks!
And a special thank you to the following individuals who helped make this a great day – John Snyder, Sarah Jenner, Cindy Jenner, Mary Givens, Pat Delhougne, Gail Chadwick, Carol Gabriel, Denise Daugherty and Tracy and Jerry Ripley with Ride Hard Magazine.
Trisha Jenner is the Receiving Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.