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Good Donation Mileage

Check Presentation

During November, over 30 Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations asked their customers at the register if they’d like to make a donation to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Here’s why we chose to work with the Foodbank:

Good Donation Mileage: Like a car getting good gas mileage per gallon, we knew donating to the Foodbank was a great way to stretch a donation. For every $5 donated, we could help provide 20 meals!

Local: We have locations all over the bi-state area – from O’Fallon, MO to O’Fallon, IL. All of our store managers wanted to work on a campaign that benefitted their own community. The Foodbank serves 14 counties in Missouri and 12 counties in Illinois. Where we are, they are. I think this type of partnership would make sense for any business with multiple locations in the greater St. Louis area.

A friendly (and sometimes heated) competition between the stores helped push everyone to be the best fundraisers they could be. Each day, we looked at how much each store raised and divided that number by how many cars were serviced. This was a fair way for every store to compete with one another.

Of the approximately 850 locations across the entire country, the location that raised the most money was based in St. Louis! On top of that, our region as a whole raised more money ($25,237) than any other region in the country!

Our employees had fun working on this campaign, and our customers liked it too. Most importantly, we were able to make sure local families have a hot meal during the coldest time of time.

Written by Kathy Beers, Market Manager, VIOC

Agency Spotlight: Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin


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Like so many of our partner agencies, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin traces its roots back to one determined individual who saw a problem and took it upon herself to find a solution.

More than 60 years ago, Elsie Dixon began a local food pantry out of the back of her truck that evolved into the agency that today feeds and provides clothes for 100 to 125 families every week.

The Hardin agency serves all of Calhoun County, Ill., a mostly rural area where farming is the predominant form of employment. The clients served represent a mix of ages, but skews toward senior households rather than young families.

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin operates a food pantry that clients can visit once per week. In addition to food, the agency provides clothing and shoes for clients. They also host a community Thanksgiving dinner for individuals without nearby relatives. Closer to Christmas, they sponsor an angel tree program for kids in conjunction with two local banks, several schools and local churches. Homebound clients receive food through the agency’s “Neighbor to Neighbor” program, with neighbors or a relative serving as a proxy to take food to people unable to get to the pantry site.

Food is distributed each Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the pantry volunteers are in their late 70s or early 80s.

“I guess the biggest change I’ve seen in the past six months to a year is the return of past clients who had become self-sufficient but now find themselves needing help again,” says Manager Vera Droege. “As we head into the winter months, folks are going to be struggling to stretch their budget to cover heating costs.”

“We really depend on the St. Louis Area Foodbank to keep our doors open,” notes Droege. “We would be hardpressed to provide people with nutritious meals without this important resource. It is our primary source of food. We are so grateful to the many donors who support the Foodbank, which then supports our pantry.”

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin
208A S. County Rd., Hardin, IL 62047

This article was featured in the December 2014 Newsletter.

 

A Serving of Hope and Community

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Our partner agencies help provide vital food to families throughout the bi-state region. They also provide something that is less tangible, but no less important: hope that things will get better.

Part of that hope comes from empowering clients with the knowledge of how to prepare the nutritious food they receive from their local food pantry.

Because of its location in a rural area, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin sees donations of fresh produce increase during the summer months. These donations often include tomatoes, squash and peppers. However, they don’t want to just distribute food, they also want to teach young people how to cook.

“We once received 2,000 wonderful pounds of potatoes from the Foodbank,” notes Manager Vera Droege. “When we started sharing them with families, one of our clients in her mid-30s admitted that, as a latch-key kid, the only potatoes she had ever cooked had come from a box. One of our volunteers taught her how to peel and cook a potato.”

The agency now has someone from the county home extension office come to the pantry once a month to prepare foods using currently available ingredients, offer samples to clients and provide them with recipes.

That’s the kind of personal touch the staff and volunteers at our partner agencies offer to clients facing emotionally and physically challenging times. That’s what you provide when you support the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Help spread the hope by making a donation to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

This article was featured in the December 2014 Newsletter.

Action Alert: Food Donation Tax Deduction

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This week Congress plans to pass a one year extension of all expired tax extenders, but the extenders would only renew the charitable giving incentives for three weeks before they expire again.

Yesterday, a stand alone bill (HR 5806), was introduced and is likely to head to the floor for a vote. We need to make one last push if we hope to see this over the finish line. We are so close.

Help us make one last strong effort by making phone calls to your representative and both your senators. Every call and every vote counts!

Calling Congress is easy.  Here’s how:

  1. Just dial our toll free number, (888) 398-8702, listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted.
  2. Connect to your Representative first, state that you are a constituent, and give your name and the name of the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
  3. Let them know you are calling about food donation and charitable giving tax legislation and deliver this important message:

As your constituent and supporter of The St. Louis Area Foodbank, I am calling you today to ask you to pass the new legislation for charitable tax extenders (HR 5806) as a stand-alone bill before Congress adjourns for the year. This legislation would help ensure our food bank has the food and the funds needed to continue supporting those in need in our community.

  1.   Be sure to dial back in and speak with both of your senators and your representative.

Thank you for your support.

 

Michelle Knight, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator

St. Louis Area Foodbank

Scouting for Food

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If you’re like us, then you know that the holiday season signals a time of giving back to the community and helping those who are less fortunate. There are numerous ways to help the needy in our communities but one of the easiest ways is to donate to the Boy Scouts’ annual Scouting For Food drive.

 

Scouting For Food is the largest one-day food drive in our region collecting over 2 million items each year. Yes, you read that correctly. Over 2 million canned good items in just ONE DAY! It’s pretty remarkable what we can accomplish when we all chip in.

How to Participate

All residents have to do is fill their blue Scouting For Food bags with canned or non-perishable food items and leave it on their doorstep by 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. That’s it! From there, approximately 30,000 Scouts, parents and volunteers collect the bags, box the food and then load it on to trucks for Sunset Transportation to deliver to the Foodbank.

As colder weather sets in, many families are forced to cut their food budget in order to keep their heat on. This creates a greater demand for food assistance. Please help the Boy Scouts meet this need by donating canned or non-perishable food items this Saturday.

 

By Christine Dieckmann

Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America

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Scouting for Food 2013

Last year, the St. Louis Area Foodbank estimates that Scouting For Food provided more than 560,000 meals. For some pantries, this kept shelves stocked for weeks and even months.

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Holiday Volunteering

Autumn is often a sentimental time of year as we transition into the holiday season. Minds turn to memories of past special meals and celebrations, time spent with family and friends, and other fun yearly traditions.
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Happily, one fall tradition that many local families value is volunteerism, and giving back to the community. As the Missouri Agency Relations Manager, my job at the Foodbank is to serve as the connection between our organization and the food pantries, soup kitchens and residential facilities in the community that distribute the product that they receive from our warehouse. During the holiday season, I receive a multitude of requests on a weekly basis from service-minded individuals looking for their chance to lend a hand at one of the Foodbank’s agencies. The abundance of giving from the community is heartwarming, and I am pleased to steer them in the direction of a fun service opportunity.

Lend a hand at an agency in your neighborhood

One great way to give back is to volunteer at a pantry or soup kitchen in your area in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this time, much of the vital prep work is being put in to build holiday baskets, and facilitate the other holiday distributions that make this time of year so special for clients. In order to make access to these sites easy our website has a list of all partner agencies, which can be sorted by zip code. Those interested in volunteering in this way are welcome to reach out to agencies in their area in order to keep their impact close to home. Find an agency near you.

Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving Dinner

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A compelling way to really get into the holiday spirit is serving a Thanksgiving meal at one of our local soup kitchens. The St. Louis Dream Center is hosting a Thanksgiving meal for its clients on Thursday, November 27th. The agency has requested volunteer assistance from 11-2 that day. For more information, or to sign up, please call 314-381-0700.

As the leaves change and the air becomes crisp, we are reminded of the many holiday seasons past, and anticipate the fun times yet to come. Lending time to one of our local agencies is a sure way to make this season merry and bright for not only your family, but also for our neighbors in need.

By Sara Lewis

MO Agency Relations Manager

Eat Healthier and Feed Hungry Families

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There’s one easy way to help your family, friends and colleagues make healthier food choices and also help St. Louis Area Foodbank end hunger here in our community.

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with a mobile app company called foodtweeks™, whose mission is to help millions of people be happier with their food while also helping to feed millions of hungry families across the country.  Your better food choices could result in food for people in our service area.

By following these two simple steps, you can support St. Louis Area Foodbank for free.

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Step 1: Download the free app on your Android or iPhone.

Step 2: Create a free account in the app and enter the promo code STLFOODBANK

That’s it! Now every time you tweek calories out of a food you are thinking of eating, buying or cooking, foodtweeks™ will donate twice as many calories to St. Louis Area Foodbank, helping us end hunger right here in our community.

You can learn more by visiting our foodtweeks™ partner page here: http://www.foodtweeks.com/fb/St.LouisArea/

 

 

 

 

National School Lunch Week

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As we wrap up National School Lunch Week it is important to acknowledge the changing structure in nutrition within our school cafeterias. This week we are sharing three important perspectives on the school lunch program and the recent changes seen in schools nationwide.

Your Turn: School lunch rules are working

In 2010 the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act kick started the mission to have healthier, more nutritious meals available to our students. This effort was part of a larger picture to reduce the obesity epidemic affecting school children. As we prepare for the 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization it’s important to show the importance of nutritious lunch and breakfast programs available to our school children, especially those receiving free or reduced meals.

The Foodbank’s School Breakfast program targets area schools with a high rate of students receiving free or reduced lunch and helps them establish a well-rounded, breakfast program to encourage more students to participate.

Learn more about the impact the changes are having in Tim English’s article

Empowering Students to Make the Healthy Choice the Right Choice

We are hearing very positive feedback as a result of the new nutrition guidelines implemented throughout schools nationwide. Victoria Wittrock, Food Service Supervisor of the West Central School District in South Dakota, sheds some light on the positive attributes associated with the recent changes to the School Lunch and Breakfast program. This story is just one real-life story as part of the series, Cafeteria Stories by the USDA.

Read more about Victoria’s experience implementing the new guidelines

5 Tips to a Better School Lunch

School cafeterias provide the fuel needed by our children to maintain a strong energy throughout the day and contribute to their educational success. Some of the new nutrition guidelines on the menu may be a challenge for some students to accept; that’s why it is important that parents, grandparents and guardians become involved in making the transition to a more nutritious menu a little easier. The following article provides five great tips on how to encourage your kids to try the new items on the menu.

Get registered dietitian, Jen Haugen’s tips on how parents can get involved

A Few Spare Minutes to Make a Big Impact

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do.”

-       Amelia Earhart

I think most of us aspire to make a difference – either in our careers, in the lives of our loved ones, or in our community.

But life, with all its complications and commitments, often seems to stand in the way.

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Though we may have the best of intentions, we somehow never seem to find the time or energy to do all that we hope to do.

Like many of us, I often tell myself that I’ll be able to do more giving back later in my life. . .when my son is older. When my work is less busy. When I have fewer social commitments.

The trouble with “later” is that inevitably, something or someone new always appears. That hope for “later” becomes a mirage we continually chase.

What if I could do something NOW? Is there something I can do in my small snippets of free time that would still make a difference?

Right now, the St. Louis Area Foodbank needs your online vote to help us win a $60,000 grant. If we win, we will be able to provide more than 200,000 additional meals to families in need!

You can vote once a day at http://stlfoodbank.org/clickforacause. Just put MO in the search bar and vote for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Then share with your friends and family and encourage them to vote too!

Then, as we continue to celebrate Hunger Action Month, I’m happy to say that there are a myriad of additional things I – and those like me – can do.

Here’s a list of small actions that require just a few moments to achieve, but still make a big impact. You can make a difference in the lives of the 1 in 8 people in our community who struggle with hunger.

 By Bethany Prange

St. Louis Area Foodbank Social Media Specialist