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Office FUNdraising Party | Part Three

“Car people” live for days like this…the unveiling of a new model. It’s the opportunity to be one of the first in country to sit in the seats, test out the features, and brag to your friends about the experience.

Recently, Frank Leta Acura held an event at their dealership previewing the new Acura 2014 MDX.

From 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., customers were greeted with live music, drinks, hor d’oeuvres and giveaways.

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For every 2014 MDX pre-ordered that day, Frank Leta Acura donated $1,000 to that customer’s charity of choice. The St. Louis Area Foodbank was one of 17 nonprofit organizations from which customers could choose, and we were fortunate that one customer did in fact choose us!

Management at the dealership saw the value in helping those in need and gave their customers an opportunity to help an organization by doing something they were already planning to do, order a new car.

By partnering with us on this event, Frank Leta Acura gave their customers a unique experience, drove traffic to their dealership, gave their employees a fun night, and helped serve the community at large. It was yet another great example of how creating an event or throwing a party at work benefiting the Foodbank can yield tremendous results for all parties involved.

To learn more about Frank Leta Acura, please visit their website by clicking here.

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Hunger is No Laughing Matter 2013

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A re-enactment of a scene from the movie “The Fugitive” and chocolate covered pretzels were just some of the highlights from this year’s “Hunger Is No Laughing Matter” comedy show, presented by Sun Life Financial.

This past Saturday, nearly 1,000 people filed into the Pageant in University City for the second annual event that helps raise awareness and funds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

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Comedian John Mulaney headlined and brought an hour-long set of brand new material. As he usually is, Mulaney was smart, cutting, and a fantastic storyteller. Since moving from his hometown of Chicago, he has had no shortage of interesting encounters in New York City. He recounted a few of those interactions, mixed in some anecdotes about family road trips, his mother’s famous college classmate (Bill Clinton) and at one point re-enacted a scene from “The Fugitive,” which had numerous scenes filmed in his hometown’s own Palmer House Hilton.

One of the night’s most memorable moments came when Mulaney seemed to veer from his routine to take note of a Foodbank poster on the stage that featured a picture of young boy with a mouth full of spaghetti, remarking how the boy looked surprised to have his picture taken. He proceeded to make a few more jokes from there. I’ve walked by that poster numerous times in our hallways here at the Foodbank and I don’t I’ll ever look at the picture the same way again.

He actually started his set by taking a few light-hearted jabs at me for coming up right before him and promising the crowd chocolate covered pretzels from Mom’s Originals at the end of the night and letting everyone know that if they made a $10 donation through Givver.com, they could get a free pizza from Pi Pizzeria. “Why would anyone want to stay to listen to my jokes when Ryan has promised you all free chocolate covered pretzels and discounted pizza? Now everyone’s just waiting for me to get off the stage,” he remarked.

Throughout the night Mulaney interacted with some audience members, including a couple in the front row that he couldn’t believe had been married for 19 years. He seemed genuinely shocked and asked them what there was to do in St. Louis since his flight left at 3am and he was planning on staying up until it was time to head to Lambert. His request for suggestions elicited an all-too-familiar St. Louis response of, “go to the East Side.” John remarked that the gentleman who shouted that out seemed a little too anxious to make the remark and that the crowd member might be trying to get him killed.

Great comedians make it look effortless and that’s exactly what John did from the moment he stepped on-stage. I know everyone at the Foodbank was thankful that he was a part of the evening.

Carmen Lynch, who was hand-picked by Mulaney, was a great addition to the line-up and St. Louisan Dan Chopin kept things flowing as the evening’s emcee, which included a 15-minute set to kick things off.

The goal of the evening was to provide an affordable night out that, where attendees could learn a little more about the Foodbank and have a good time while they were doing it. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that was in attendance on Saturday that would say it accomplished anything other than that. Thank you to everyone that came out and helped make it a success.

By Ryan Farmer

Communications manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Office FUNdraising Party | Part Two

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On July 19, Missouri Employers Mutual (MEM) again chose the St. Louis Area Foodbank to benefit from their annual workplace fundraiser. The theme this year was “Christmas in July” and the office planning committee really went the extra mile with decorations and other finishing touches.

They served a classic holiday turkey dinner with all the trimmings. They even had pumpkin pie. This all went down on a day when the heat index in St. Louis was 100 degrees!

Since this year’s event also included a food drive, I was joined by Product Donations Coordinator Casey Milton. We were given an opportunity to outline how the Foodbank feeds hungry people in our community and how their support helps us provide more meals for our neighbors in need.

To raise cash donations, employees solicited prizes from MEM clients and other area businesses. Those prizes were raffled off. The most coveted items included four iPads and a stocked wine refrigerator. Employees could also purchase bingo cards, because who doesn’t love a game of bingo?

Finally, they held an ugly Christmas sweater contest. It takes a really competitive spirit to wear a sweater in 100 degree weather, but the winner of the contest was up to the challenge. She was rewarded with a $100 gift card!

Proceeds from all activities will be donated to the Foodbank.

Everyone had a great time. The real difficulty was returning to work after the turkey tryptophan began to kick in!

By Jane Corpora

Grantwriter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Office FUNdraising Party | Part One

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Niki Baker is the VP of business development at Rabo AgriFinance, an agricultural lending company located in St. Louis County. She helped organize a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event at their office on July 12.

Around 2:00 p.m., the office began flocking to the CSR Fair. The event was an opportunity for co-workers to socialize and give back to the community. Each department created a themed raffle item for the event.

There was also a $5 entry fee to get into the CSR Fair. Rabo AgriFinance matched (dollar for dollar) all donations received from employees. Funds raised benefited the St. Louis Area Foodbank and St. Patrick Center.

Furthermore, Niki invited me to speak at the CSR Fair about our work in the community. At the podium, I closed by praising their event. It was well-planned, well-executed and mutually beneficial for both organizations.

A couple weeks later, I returned to Rabo AgriFinance to receive a check from CEO Neil Dobbin and the staff for $4,000!

The CSR Fair and the check presentation were both on Friday afternoons. The events provided a great way to start the weekend, both for the employees of Rabo AgriFinance and those served by the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

S.N.A.P. POP QUIZ

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How much do you know about S.N.A.P?

In July, the House of Representatives passed a Farm Bill that removed all funding for S.N.A.P. benefits (formerly known as food stamps). It was the first time food stamps had not been a part of the farm bill since 1973.

The Farm Bill has been a bipartisan bill that acted as safety-net, not only for farmers but also for low-income Americans for decades. Now, the future of the Farm Bill is clear and we don’t know what will happen next.

What we do know is that a lot of people are confused about S.N.A.P. and what it means to some of America’s most vulnerable people.

How much do you know about S.N.A.P.?

Test your knowledge with Feeding America’s SNAP Quiz.