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Surviving The Summer: Accessing Meals When School Is Not In Session

The end of the school year is a time when most children rejoice.

For them, summertime means no homework and long days of playing outside with friends.

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However, for the millions of children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school, summer means new worries.

When they can’t rely on a meal at school, these children – and their parents – are forced to worry where and how they will get their next meal.

That’s why summer feeding programs are so vital.

But in 2012, only one in seven kids who ate a free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year also participated in a summer meal program.

That means of the 21 million kids who are eligible, only 3 million of them are receiving meals in the summer. Read more

#SolveSeniorHunger

Every year since 1963, May has been designated by the National Council of Senior Citizens as the month for the United States to appreciate and celebrate older adults and their contributions to our communities.

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Feeding America food banks like the St. Louis Area Foodbank participate in the movement by raising awareness and showing support for the 4.8 million seniors facing hunger in our country.

You can do your part to help increase awareness for the issue of senior hunger by joining our social media campaign #SolveSeniorHunger. Read more

Got Milk? Help Those Who Don’t

While we may live in the land of plenty, more than one in five children in America does not know where their next meal will come from.

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This “food insecurity” often goes hand-in-hand with childhood obesity. Disrupted meal patterns, stressful home situations, and an overall lack of access to nutritious foods contribute to both epidemics.

When kids aren’t well-nourished, they are much more likely to experience health and developmental issues, and struggle with poor academic performance and behavioral problems. Read more

Face of the Foodbank

Today, on Administrative Professionals Day, we celebrate Susan Jenkins.

Technically, Susan’s title at the St. Louis Area Foodbank is “customer service representative.”

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But in reality, we think of her more as the “Face of the Foodbank.”

That’s because Susan is the first person our agency volunteers and staff see when they come in to pick up food.

About half of our 512 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and feeding programs come to the Foodbank to pick up the food they give out to families in need. Read more

Plan Your Night Out with the Girls

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Ladies, how long has it been since you’ve enjoyed a night out with your girlfriends?

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How would you like to enjoy such a night guilt-free because you are simultaneously supporting a great charity?

If your interest has been peaked, then listen up.

On Friday, May 16, 2014, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is hosting the second annual Wine, Women and Shoes. The fun happens from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Clayton.

Tickets are now on sale for this high-energy event.

Throughout the night, you can:

Sample fine wines from vintners across the country

Shop for the latest fashions in shoes, accessories and jewelry

Bid on one-of-a kind trips to Napa Valley or stock your wine cellar with great live and silent auction packages

Buy a chance to win the fabulous Keys to the Closet package worth thousands of dollars! The “Closet” contains a treasure trove of jewelry, shoes, clothing, accessories and lots of other surprises!

Discover the goodies inside your Swag Bag

Taste amazing food

Buy a surprise bag of wine from the Wall of Wine

Oh, and let’s not forget the Shoe Guys. Several hunky young men will be at your service all evening, serving up the latest in fashion footwear and wine pairings.

Wear your favorite pair of shoes and compete for prizes in the Best in Shoe contest!

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So plan now to attend with your “sole” sisters! Individual tickets and Girlfriend’s packages are on sale. Buy tickets at STLFoodbank.org or call 314-292-6262.

Also, follow and like our event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wwsstlouis to get the latest updates and check out photos from last year’s Wine Women & Shoes.

Be There! Be Fabulous!

By Jane Corpora

Grantwriter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

National Nutrition Month

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In honor of National Nutrition Month, it is important to take a look at the efforts being made to provide healthy food options to the millions of people in need of food assistance in our country.

With an ever-growing push toward eating healthy and staying fit, food banks like the St. Louis Area Foodbank are trying to do their part to provide clients with healthier foods. We also strive to give families in need nutrition education to help them make healthy choices on their own.

We distribute millions of pounds of food to those in need, and we want to make sure that food not only fills the clients’ stomachs, but also helps them provide a healthier future for their families.

Typically seen as a large warehouse that distributes shelf-stable food, the Foodbank is evolving. We are working hard to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats.

One of our overall goals is to better meet the nutritional needs of those we serve. Diets rich in these foods will help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes – three conditions that are prevalent in today’s society, particularly for the poor.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank is also focusing on programs and services that will help communities gain additional access to healthy food. We also share opportunities for families to learn the benefits of health eating.

We help families in need apply for food stamps, and provide senior citizens with a supplemental box of food every month. These are just two ways we are offering struggling families in our area better access to healthy, nourishing food choices.

Our food fairs and mobile markets deliver fresh produce, bakery goods and dairy products to pantries all around the St. Louis region. We also provide our clients with a wide variety of resources to make healthy living a possibility for those struggling to make ends meet.

One of the best resources to help food banks and health professionals bridge the gap between hunger relief and good nutrition is the Healthy Food Bank Hub.

The Hub is designed to provide healthy food resources to food banks across the country. The tool includes information on healthy food distribution, recipes, educational materials and much more.

For those that look to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, food pantries and soup kitchens for their next meal, eating healthy is not something they can do on their own.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank is making strides to provide healthy food and nutrition education, making the idea of healthier, well-fed communities isn’t too far away.

Each of us can do our part to make healthier food options available to all of us. Contact the St. Louis Area Foodbank and see what you can do to help, whether it is volunteering at a distribution center or simply inquiring about efforts in your community to help create awareness about nutrition.

Together we can work towards a healthier, more nutritious future.

By Kelly Hall, RD, LD

IL School Breakfast Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank and registered dietitian.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

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In the last year, more than 19,000 volunteers have helped the St. Louis Area Foodbank feed hungry families by sorting and repackaging food here at our facility in Bridgeton.

We’d like to share that good fortune by encouraging folks to volunteer around the holiday season at any St. Louis-area agency who could use the extra help.

The United Way of Greater St. Louis has compiled a great list of places to volunteer between October and January.

There are a lot of cool things you can do on that list, from making Christmas cards and baking cookies with the kids at Epworth Children and Family Services to celebrating Kwanzaa at St. Louis Crisis Nursery.

Check out all the volunteer opps here:

http://www.stlvolunteer.org/holidayvolunteeringguide

On Christmas Day, you can participate in the annual STL Jewish & Muslim Day of Service.

The goal of this annual project is “to bring together people of different faiths to volunteer their time on Christmas Day” and to “build stronger ties among people of different backgrounds.”

Learn more here: http://www.stljewishmuslimdayofservice.org/

Here are just a few more places where you can lend a hand:

Agency Name: Good Samaritan Ministries in Carbondale

Volunteers needed: To help hand out food to families in need.
Dates/times: 8 a.m. Dec. 20, 2013
8 a.m. Dec. 23, 2013
Address:
Good Samaritan Ministries Food Pantry
University Baptist Church
700 S Oakland
Carbondale, IL 62901

Contact: JoAnn Grammer or Patty Mullen at 618-458-5794
Organization website: www.goodsamcarbondale.org

 

Agency Name: Salvation Army

Volunteers needed: This is toy town/ toys for tots volunteer opportunity where toys and food vouchers are prepared and issued.

Dates/times: Now through Dec. 20, 2013
Address:
3949 Forest Park
St. Louis, MO
Requirements: Must be able to lift 20 pounds

Contact: Sheila Davis at shelia_davis@usc.salvationarmy.org
or 314-646-3166

Joshua Kamer at joshua_kamer@usc.salvationarmy.org
or 314-646-3043

Organization website: www.stlsalvationarmy.org

 

Agency Name: Lansdowne Washington Park Food Pantry

Volunteers needed: Sorting donated food.

Dates/times: Dec. 20, 2013
Dec. 23, 2013
Dec. 27, 2013
Dec. 30, 2013
Address:
AmeriCorps East Saint Louis
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
1274 N. 37th Street
East St. Louis, IL 62204

Requirements: Must be over age 18
Must have valid driver’s license
Must be able to lift 20 lbs or more
Must be able to work outside

Contact: Naisha N. Bailey, pantry supervisor at nbailey@lessiebatesdavis.org or 618-271-2522

Organization website: http://www.lessiebatesdavis.org/

By Bethany Prange

Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Holidays on a Budget

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Ah, the holidays.

They’re a time of gift-giving, parties and jubilant celebration.

Sadly, the winter holidays are also a time of elevated stress and budget-blowing overspending.

Even those who aren’t struggling financially may find it hard to come up with the extra money for holiday gifts, décor and food.

Here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, we know just how hard it is for many of our clients to provide their loved ones with all the traditions of the holidays.

So, we’ve created a Pinterest board specifically dedicated to celebrating holidays on a budget. We’ve got:

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• Inexpensive ideas for decorating, like bringing the outdoors inside or using wrapped gifts as décor.
• DIY tips for making homemade gifts, such as making ornaments with your child’s handprint or creating gift baskets!
• Ideas for fun and cheap holiday activities to do with the kids, like making cotton ball snowmen or reindeer cookies.
• Budget recipes for holiday meals, featuring shopping lists and cool ideas for cutting costs. (We have a whole board dedicated just to budget recipes!)

Click here to check out our Pinterest page and share some of your favorite holiday budget ideas with us in the comments!

By Bethany Prange

Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank