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Older Americans Act

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1 in 12 Seniors is Going Hungry

Often times when we think of the face of hunger we think of the nearly 16 million children that live in food insecure households – we don’t often think of the elderly. The truth is that more than 5.3 million senior citizens are affected by hunger, that is 1 in 12.

With the number of older adults projected to increase by 35 percent over the next decade, nutrition programs targeted at seniors will be critical to safeguarding the health of this vulnerable population. Many of these older americans have worked their entire lives to provide for their families, are retired, volunteer their time and never expected that at this stage of their lives they would be unsure of where their next meal is coming from.

Older Americans don’t often ask for help.

At the St. Louis Area Foodbank we see this first hand. We receive phone calls, when they have nowhere else to turn, regarding signing up for SNAP benefits. And that is only a handful; many households may not even realize they qualify for benefits. At local food fairs we meet older american volunteers who assist us for hours loading pounds of food into hundreds of cars only to end their day driving through the same line to stock their own cupboards.

The sad truth is that in our 26-county service territory, of Missouri and Illinois, 14% of the people we serve are age 60 or older. Many of these individuals, at this stage of their life, are having to choose between paying for food or buying essential medicines. In fact, 71% of the people we serve have had to make that choice in the last year.

We must urge our members of Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) as it celebrates it’s 50th year.

The Older Americans Act funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent, and provide needed support for seniors facing food insecurity.

Join us in urging Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

A program implemented by the St. Louis Area Foodbank, is a commodity-based program, providing nutritionally-balanced, shelf-stable food packages to 8,800 in seven counties in Missouri and two in Illinois. Last year the St. Louis Area Foodbank distributed over 103,300 CSFP boxes to low-income seniors.

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CSFP is the only USDA nutrition program that provides monthly food assistance specially targeted at low-income seniors. CSFP must be funded each year through the annual federal appropriations process and can only serve as many eligible people as funding allows. As a result, CSFP only operates in 46 states and is unable to serve all eligible seniors in these states.Congress has a duty to provide adequate funding to expand CSFP nationwide to serve all eligible seniors.

Join us in urging Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act

May is Older Americans Month

Older Americans 5.11.15

What is Older Americans Month, Anyway?

In 1963 John F. Kennedy declared May to be Senior’s Month as a way to acknowledge the accomplishments of our past and present older citizens. President Lyndon Johnson signed Older American’s Month into law in 1965.

This year’s theme is Get into the Act to encourage healthy aging and community involvement for seniors.

Healthy Eating = Healthy Aging

At the St. Louis Area Foodbank, we are doing our best to better serve the community of low-income seniors by partnering with the State of Missouri and Illinois as part of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

This program provides a nutritious box of food every month to qualifying seniors who are 60 and older and who meet the income requirements set by the USDA.  We are excited to be able to provide this service to over 8,800 seniors in seven counties in Missouri and two in Illinois.

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, just one of the many agencies who distribute the CSFP boxes, had this to say about the program:

“For our low-income senior adults living in our affordable housing apartments, the monthly CSFP food box is such a blessing.  It is so beneficial in providing our residents with something extra that allows them to stretch their limited budgets.  And as the items they receive month-to-month change, it provides some variety in their diet, as well.  We feel very fortunate that we are able to partner with the St. Louis Area Foodbank in providing this program to our residents.”

More Care to Share

In addition to CSFP, we proudly provide SNAP (food stamp) application assistance to the people living in the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s 26-county service territory.

We help with filling out and submitting the application, answer questions about the program, and provide follow-up assistance as well. This is extremely important, given only one third of eligible seniors receive SNAP benefits.

Suzi Seeker provides this service in Missouri where eight percent of seniors are living in poverty and Andrea Hale in Illinois where eleven percent are living in poverty as well.

Please join us at the Foodbank in celebrating our older friends and neighbors!

If you’d like to Get into the Act and volunteer with the St. Louis Area Foodbank, click here to sign up today.


Suzi

Suzi Seeker
Missouri CSFP/SNAP Coordinator, St. Louis Area Foodbank

Thanks for Your Support on Give STL Day

Whether you donated or helped spread the word about our cause, you played an important role in helping us exceed our goal this year.

Last year, we received more than $8,300 in donations. This year we set our sights on raising $10,000 in 24 hours. We can provide four meals with every dollar donated and we thought providing 40,000 meals almost 40 years to the day that we first became incorporated as an organization would be a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary.

When it was all said and done, we received $12,415 in donations from 194 donors. With this money, we can feed almost 50,000 hungry people in our community!

We were truly delighted to watch the incredible support for the St. Louis nonprofit community on Tuesday. More than $2 million was committed to nonprofits all across the bi-state region. It is so encouraging to see the generosity of our community.

Stamp Out Hunger 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

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On Saturday, May 9, 2015, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations in order to provide assistance to the millions of Americans who are struggling with hunger.

Celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected more than one billion pounds of food since its inception as a national food drive in 1993.

The nation’s 180,000 letter carriers will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous Americans in more than 10,000 communities and deliver them to food banks and other hunger-relief organizations.

In 2014, generous individuals donated more than 72 million pounds of food, which marked the eleventh consecutive year that at least 70 million pounds were collected.

What foods are good to donate to the food drive?

Here are a few non-perishable food items requested by food pantries:

• Cereal
• Pasta
• Rice
• Canned fruits and vegetables
• Canned meals such as soups, chili, pasta
• 100% juice
• Peanut butter
• Pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce
• Macaroni & cheese
• Canned protein – tuna, chicken, turkey
• Beans – canned or dry

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger and follow the food drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.

Thanks to the many Stamp Out Hunger sponsors for their support!

National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
AFL-CIO
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA)
United Way
Valassis
Valpak

Share Your Story – The Checkout Line

Since becoming involved with the St. Louis Area Foodbank and their Young Professionals Board, I’ve become more sensitive to hunger issues in the region and the administration of assistance to families in need. Yesterday, I was in the check-out line at a local grocery store. While in line, I noticed a lady in front of me with a cart full of food. She had on a uniform, so I assumed she stopped at the grocery store on her way home from work. She held a blue card in her hand and I slyly attempted to see if she had a blue US Bank card like mine or an EBT Card.

Why? Just being nosy.

I felt guilty as she noticed me looking at her card and she moved it to her other hand, as if she was embarrassed that someone noticed she was receiving federal assistance so that she could feed her family. I diverted my attention by checking Facebook on my phone to pass the time, but I couldn’t help but think of a news article that I’d recently seen. A member of the Missouri Legislature wants to pass a bill that prohibits families receiving SNAP benefits from purchasing cookies, steak, seafood, energy drinks, sodas, and chips. So, I decided to be nosy again and check out her cart.

From what I could see, her cart contained family size portions of ground beef (it’s usually cheaper to buy the larger portions and then separate before freezing), some fresh fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables, milk, juice, pasta, a few pizzas, frozen meals and other food. She also had non-food items, but necessary items, such as toilet paper, which cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits.

I looked at my cart. I had cookies, chips, and soda.

After a few minutes, I looked up again. The woman was studying the screen to see the total price for her items add up. She looked worried as the cashier neared the end of the food on the belt. The cashier whispered something to her, and as he scanned the last item, he looked at her and nodded. A look of relief came over her face and she swiped two cards: one for personal items, and the EBT card for food items.

I was judgmental.

Shame on me.

I embarrassed her by purposefully “investigating” her payment method, and examined her personal choice of what she fed her family, while I was planning on putting junk food in my own body. I’m no better of a person than she is. She shouldn’t feel judged or ashamed because she needs help. She was making smart choices for her family, and everyone, despite economic status, should have the freedom to make choices for their families.

Jennifer Haynes
St. Louis Area Foodbank Young Professionals Board Chair

GiveSTLDay

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#GiveSTLDay
Save the Date – May 5, 2015

Give STL Day is a 24-hour giving event with local impact. Donate to the nonprofits working on the causes YOU care about.

Last year’s inaugural effort of Give STL Day raised more than $1.1 million for 528 local nonprofits. The Foodbank was lucky enough to receive 190 gifts totaling more than $8,000 on that day.

This year we’re setting a goal of trying to raise at least $10,000 in 24 hours. That would help us provide 40,000 meals for hungry families throughout the bi-state region.

Learn more at http://givestlday.org

#WeSparkChange

3 Ways to Help Fight Hunger Spark Change

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Through May 3, Walmart is teaming up with some of America’s favorite food manufacturers to fight hunger and spark change across the country.

There are three ways you can help feed local families:

Buy Your Favorite Foods at Walmart Stores

At area Walmart locations, when you purchase designated products from Campbell’s, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and Unilever, it will trigger a donation of 10 cents to Feeding America to help secure one meal on behalf of the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Donate at the Register

You can make a donation of $1, $2, or $5 at the register of your local Walmart. Within our 26-county service territory, 100% of these funds will be allocated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Share Your Smile on Social Media

During the campaign, Walmart will raise awareness about the one in six people nationally that struggle with hunger. Take a picture with six people who commit to fight hunger. Post the picture publicly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WeSparkChange. Walmart will donate $10 to Feeding America for every qualified post, up to $1.5 million. Funds raised will be distributed equitably among participating Feeding America food banks.

For more information on the campaign and to see how many meals have been secured for local families, click here.

Volunteers Needed!

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

May 9, 2015 | 3 Hour Shifts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Area Post Offices


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On Saturday, May 9, 2015, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations in order to provide assistance to the millions of Americans who are struggling with hunger.

Stamp Out Hunger is the nation’s largest single-day food drive.

The nation’s 180,000 letter carriers will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous Americans in more than 10,000 communities and deliver them to food banks and other hunger-relief organizations.

We need volunteers to help pick-up, sort and package the food at Post Offices around St. Louis. 

Read more

Call Congress Today!

Help us generate phone calls to the House and Senate with a clear message- protect the programs that help us fight hunger!

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This week, the House and Senate are expected to vote on budget resolutions that would attempt to balance the budget in 10 years.

While these resolutions are non-binding, we are concerned that they will be used to draft legislation that would balance the budget on the backs of low-income Americans by cutting the hunger-relief programs that advance our mission.

We believe it is necessary to send a strong message early in this process and let them know that cutting programs that our families rely on is the wrong way to balance the budget.  Read more

National Nutrition Month

The St. Louis Area Foodbank is fortunate to have Kelly Hall, a registered dietitian, on staff. For National Nutrition Month, Kelly shares how the Foodbank is improving nutrition for the families that we serve.

Foods to Encourage

In 2013, the St. Louis Area Foodbank adopted a model designed to increase the amount of nutritious food we provide to our clients. The Foods to Encourage model has a goal that 66% of the food brought into the Foodbank is fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low/non-fat dairy. We recognize that hunger is a health issue and we want our clients to have nutritious foods available to them in order to fight against diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Read more