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Generosity is fashionable in St. Louis

The first Wine, Women & Shoes to benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank was a smashing success!

Thank you to everyone who spent the evening helping to feed families in need. You make our mission possible and we couldn’t do it without you!

 

 

cupcakes

 

See more pictures on our Facebook page…

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!

Check out our photo album of the night on Facebook >

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
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

 

Food Stamp Realities – Interactive Tools to Learn

Mom and Child

Think food stamps are something used only by people in far-away, poor communities?
Think again.
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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE INTERACTIVE MAP OF FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS

With Congress debating cuts to SNAP, it is more important than ever to understand just how much of an impact this program has on millions of Americans.

To learn more about SNAP truths – and to find out what commonly held beliefs are actually untrue – check out this informative list from the USDA:

http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/06/24/fact-vs-fiction-usda%E2%80%99s-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/

Bethany Prange

    Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

Wine, Women and Shoes

Wine, Women, and Shoes!

 

There are dozens of reasons why I am so excited about the Wine, Women & Shoes event next Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton.

First, this inaugural event benefits the St. Louis Area Foodbank, a nonprofit near and dear to my heart.

Second, the planning team and I have been working for nearly a year to make this event spectacular. I cannot wait to see all our hard work pay off!

But perhaps what I’m most excited about is simply seeing all the fabulously-dressed ladies and amazing shoes on parade!

This will definitely be a night to remember – girlfriends, shopping, wine, and hunky shoe guys! What more could a girl ask for?

As a St Louis Area Foodbank board member and event co-chair, I have enjoyed being a part of the coordination effort and working with the wonderful Foodbank staff and volunteers.

As the night approaches, I think the part of the evening I’m most looking forward to is the Keys to the Closet raffle.

One very lucky lady will take home the entire “closet” – a collection of fabulous donations, including premiere brands like Ann Taylor and James Avery Jewelry.

The winner of the Keys to the Closet raffle will walk away with handbags, massage gift certificates, jewelry and much, much more.

The prize is valued at almost $4,000 and the raffle tickets cost only $100 for one or $250 for three chances to win!

Best of all, all proceeds from ticket sales, raffles and auction items and a percentage of marketplace and wine sales benefit the St Louis Area Foodbank!

So, ladies, we get to shop guilt-free!

The Foodbank’s mission is to feed hungry people by distributing food
to our partner agencies and educate the public about the nature of and solutions to the problems of hungry.

As I see it, this is a rare chance to update your wardrobe and wine collection while making a positive difference in the community at the same time!

Tickets are selling fast so get yours today!  Be there and be fabulous!

www.winewomenandshoes.com/stlouis2013

Vicky De Los Santos
Vicky De Los Santos
UPS Director of Finance
St. Louis Area Foodbank Board Member
Wine, Women & Shoes Co-Chair

 

 


 

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we started planning the first annual Wine, Women & Shoes fundraiser for the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

This fun and glamorous girls night out will take place in less than a week on Wednesday, May 29, 2013! The fun happens from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton.

Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to get your tickets:www.winewomenandshoes.com/stlouis2013.  Just click on the “Buy Tickets” tab.

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:

  • Most Fabulous Flat
  • Sexiest Stilettos
  • Prettiest Pair

We are lucky to have three great judges:  Debra Bass, fashion editor for the St. Louis Post-DispatchJen Myers from Y98 and Julia Christensen from the Ladue News.

So, ladies, make sure you wear your most fashionable footwear and enter to win a great prize!

If you can’t seem to find anything fabulous beforehand, you can also shop for shoes and accessories right at the event, all while sipping delicious wines served to you by fabulous “Shoe Guys.”

So just who are these Shoe Guys?  Join us on May 29 and find out!

 

Barb Bunning-Stevens
Barb Bunning-Stevens
Monsanto Law Team Senior Counsel, Trademarks and Commercial Law
Wine, Women & Shoes Co-Chair

 

Food on Film, Part 2 – Life on the Road

The Trip

Steve Coogan (above right) and Rob Brydon in The Trip.
Photograph: BBC/Revolution/Phil Fisk

There is perhaps no book in America more famous for glamorizing life on the road than Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel On the Road.

This landmark piece of literature has recently been adapted into a movie starring Sam RileyKristen StewartAmy AdamsKirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last film to romanticize life on the road. A few of my favorites are:

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
Patrick Delhougne is the development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

One Father’s Story Inspires a Commitment to Hunger Relief

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.

Soup Kitchen

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
Matt Dace is the senior vice president at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

 

Stamping Out Hunger St. Louis Style

Diet chocolate fudge soda in a can.

Pickled quail eggs in a jar.

Sliced kiwi in a can.

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 Logo

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!

Check out photos on our Facebook page. 

 

Bethany Prange
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

Casey Milton
Casey Milton is the product sourcing coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

Rock Out To Knock Out Hunger Food Drive

Rock Out To Knock Out Hunger

Songs about mama, pick-up trucks and wild nights on the town.

Those may just be your first references when someone mentions country music.

And yeah, there are plenty of those songs playing in regular rotation on local country stations WIL 92.3 and 93.7 The Bull.

But one other common denominator for country music artists – and musicians in general – is an overwhelming sense of responsibility to the community and the world.

Once again this year, country music artists – and artists from other genres too – are helping the St. Louis community by raising food and funds for families in need.

With the help of Live Nation St. Louis, the St. Louis Area Foodbank will be at each of the following concerts for a program called Rock Out to Knock Out Hunger.

At each concert, fans who donate to the St. Louis Area Foodbank will have the chance to win great prizes, including meet and greet passes with the artist, ticket upgrades and memorabilia.

For every $5 donation or donation of five canned goods, fans get one chance in the drawing for one of those awesome prizes.

Upcoming Shows

May 9 Brad Paisley
May 23 Tim McGraw
June 7 The Zac Brown Band
June 14 Luke Bryan
June 27 Kenny Chesney
July 27 Blake Shelton
August 16 Rascal Flatts
August 23 Keith Urban
September 6 Miranda Lambert
September 20 Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan Concert Winners
Tim McGraw Concert Winners

 

Zac Brown Band Concert Winners

 

Foodbank Team

So take a few extra minutes and pick up some canned goods or extra cash. Drop it by the Foodbank table outside the gates at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater just before the concert.

See us at the following concerts. We’ll update here when we confirm other concerts!

 

Bethany Prange
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

Cooking Demonstration by Chef David Frattini

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

Print PDF of Recipe

Minestrone Soup

Yield:  24 eight-ounce servings 
Preparation Time
:  50 minutes

Ingredients

4 Fluid Ounces Vegetable Oil
1 Pound Yellow Onion, Small Dice
8 ounces Celery, Small Dice
8 Ounces  Carrot, Small Dice
2 Teaspoons  Garlic, Minced
8 ounces Green Cabbage, Julienne
8 Ounces  Zucchini, Medium Dice
8 Ounces  Yellow Squash, Medium Dice
1 Pound  Canned Tomatoes, Diced With Juice
5 Quarts Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
6 Ounces   Dried Pasta, Such As Macaroni or Orzo
1 ½ Pounds Canned White Beans
Cooked, Drained, and Rinsed
½ Cup  Fresh Basil, Chiffonade
To Taste Salt
To Taste Pepper
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
2 Loaves Baguette, Bias Cut, ½-inch Thick Slices
½ Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Whole
To Taste Salt
To Taste Pepper

Procedure

  1. 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. 
  2. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. 
  3. Add yellow onion, celery, and carrot.  Sweat the vegetables until tender.  Add garlic.  Cook until garlic aroma is present. 
  4. Add cabbage.  Sweat cabbage until soft. 
  5. Add zucchini and yellow squash.  Gently cook squash until just tender. 
  6. Add tomatoes and their juice and the chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock to preserve as a vegetarian soup). 
  7. 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. 
  8. Add the cooked pasta from Step 1. 
  9. Add the fresh basil and return soup to a simmer. 
  10. Check and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper.   Hold soup warm for service. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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
Allison Jones is theGraphic and Web Design Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Voting for a Cause – Rallying the Digital Community

Grow St. Louis

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.

100 Cars for Good was a fun contest.

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.

Bethany Prange
Patrick-Delhougne is the Development Associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Bikers for Backpacks – Braving the Storm for Kids in Need

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
Trisha Jenner is the Receiving Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.