I watched my mom struggle to pay for groceries, birthday presents and back-to-school clothes for me and my two younger sisters.
Every month, The Daniel & Henry Co. makes a donation to one of our non-profit clients. In July, we chose the St. Louis Area Foodbank!
To encourage our employees and brokers to take part, we started the Jeans BeCause – Daniel and Henry Cares program.
When an employee makes a donation to the charity, they earn the chance to wear jeans to work once a month.
Don Hiemenz and Wes Mellow, the executives who nominated the Foodbank, matched the employee contributions dollar-for-dollar.
For her 8th birthday on August 7, Caitlin Kemp didn’t want a trip to the toy store. She didn’t ask to spend her special day at a museum or amusement park.
In fact, Caitlin passed on all the things one would expect an 8-year-old to ask for.
But this curly-haired little girl had just one special request on her birthday. She wanted to spend the day helping people.
Money raised by the campaign will go directly to SNAP recipients to increase their buying power at local producer-only farmers markets.
Sandra is battling breast cancer. But she is also battling hunger.
Last week, she skipped a chemotherapy treatment just so she could go to the Chester Area Christian Food Pantry to pick up the food she and her husband so desperately need.
And yet, Sandra doesn’t expect to take without giving back.
Sandra and her husband have a lush garden, so every time she comes to pick up food from the pantry, she brings in bags full of tomatoes and other vegetables.
She is just one of the many people in this small southern Illinois community who share what little they have with others in need.
Food pantry staff tell countless stories of families in need who bring in homegrown fruits and vegetables or handmade items, hoping to share their own bounties with other families in need.
Yesterday, at a food fair in Chester, Ill., Foodbank staff watched nearly 180 of these families in need wait patiently in line for hours for their share of food.
Some families lined up as early at 5 a.m., knowing the Foodbank truck wouldn’t arrive with food until after 10 a.m. They waited, in their cars, without complaint for nearly six hours.
This is a testament to how much these families truly need the food.
By 1 p.m., the nearly 20,000 pounds of food we delivered to Chester was gone, divided up amongst the families.
Every family I spoke with expressed gratitude for the food, and said without it, they would not have enough to eat.
They were also quick to tell me that when they get food from the pantry, if there is any extra or anything they can’t use, they share it with their neighbors in need.
Perhaps it is the common ground of hard times that motivates families in need to help one another. Or perhaps, they help each other when they can, simply because they want to pay it forward.
See some moving pictures from the Chester food fair here.
By Bethany Prange
Social Media Specialist
What I have found is that it isn’t just food that they are receiving, but the hope and knowledge that someone out there cares.
This month, the Missouri Corn Growers Association worked with Todd G. Glosemeyer Farms in Marthasville, Mo., to donate an entire acre of sweet corn to the Foodbank.
Frank Finnegan joined the St. Louis Area Foodbank as executive director in 1989.
Today, 25 years later, he continues to lead this remarkable nonprofit toward its goal of alleviating hunger in the bi-state region.
This brief interview offers insight from Finnegan on his role at the Foodbank and his ideas for the future.
When I was a kid, my family needed help and organizations like the Foodbank were there for us. Now it’s my turn to give back.
This past weekend, I participated in my second food fair with the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
This time, I donated my time on behalf of the Friends of the Foodbank, a new group of professionals committed to volunteering and representing the Foodbank at community events.
The Foodbank partnered with one of their partner agencies, a church in Washington, Mo., to provide almost 20,000 pounds of food to more than 130 families in need. Read more
Have you ever needed help providing food for your family? Have you received food from a food pantry? Have you ever used food stamps?
If you answered yes to any of these questions – even if your experience was years ago – we’d love to hear from you. We use these firsthand accounts to help educate the world about hunger in the St. Louis area. Hearing a personal story from a real individual who has struggled to put food on the table can be eye-opening for those who have never experienced it.
These stories help us spread hunger awareness, and encourage donors large and small to keep giving. In addition, your story can help erase the stereotypes that people associate with food pantries and food stamps. Please help us show the world that the folks in the pantry line are real, hard-working people who are doing their best to provide for their families.
It’s easy to share a thought, comment or personal story – your story is a powerful tool in fighting hunger and its root causes.
If you’re not sure what to write about, you could tell us a story about your experience with any of the following issues:
- Accessing emergency food
- Losing your job in this tough economy
- Having trouble making ends meet
- Working for wages that don’t support your family
- Difficulty with medical bills
- Difficulty affording rent
- Being homeless
- Being hurt by predatory banking, lending or business practices
- How you’ve benefited from community food systems like farm-to-school and community garden programs
- Difficulty accessing food or services where you live
- Living with a disability and waiting for SSI or SSDI benefits
- Challenges you’ve encountered as an Oregon or Clark County farmer
- A time when cash assistance helped you get back on your feet
- How you’ve benefited from SNAP (food stamps), child nutrition programs (WIC, school breakfast and lunch, summer food, etc.) or WIC/senior farmers market coupons
- A memorable experience you had as an St. Louis Area Foodbank advocate or volunteer
We do not have to use your full name if we share the story, but we do need to verify the stories. For this purpose, please include in your email or message the following information: full name, city of residence, email or phone number, and name of pantry you used if applicable.
By Bethany Prange
Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank