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Signing-On for Strong Policy

2017 brings with it enormous change to the political landscape, from a new president and Congress to new state and local leadership. While so much change can feel disruptive and unpredictable, it also opens up abundant opportunities for advocacy on behalf of the people we serve and the causes we stand behind. That’s why the Foodbank is busy at work, forging relationships with our new leadership and supporting the anti-hunger programs – like SNAP, CSFP, and TEFAP – upon which so many Americans rely.

This month we have already signed on to a letter directed to Illinois’ leadership, joining over 120 of our partners within and beyond our service area to support the programs and legislation we know effectively fight hunger across the country.

As a signee of this letter, we are specifically asking Illinois’ 2 senators and 18 representatives to strengthen federal nutrition programs and protect them against cuts. We are also offering our help in addressing hunger statewide and across the nation.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank has signed this letter because we know the programs it defends work – assisting families struggling to put food on the table, promoting health, helping kids succeed in school, supporting farmers, and boosting local economies.

We have also signed because we believe making our voice heard and working with our elected officials is an essential way forward in the fight against hunger.

Check out the letter here.

And check back often for more news, updates, and ways to make a difference as a hunger advocate!

Make an Impact: Your Generosity Feeds Hungry People

It’s simple — for every dollar donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, 97 cents go directly toward feeding the hungry. In fact, working with our network of nearly 500 partner agencies in Missouri and Illinois, the Foodbank provides food assistance to 43,000 people each week; more than 2.4 million meals per month.

meal makers

We are grateful for the food donations the Foodbank receives from individuals, corporations, retailers and community food drives. But the reality is that the Foodbank relies on donors like you to maintain our warehouse, keep the shelves stocked with nutritionally balanced foods and transport that food when and where it’s needed.

Like any household, having a reliable revenue stream allows us to plan more effectively and stretch donations even further. As a supporter of the Foodbank, we hope you’ll consider becoming a monthly donor — a Meal Maker. You can choose an amount that fits with your giving budget to have funds automatically withdrawn from your banking account. Prefer regular mail? Just send in a voided check with instructions for the amount of support you’d like to provide each month. Again, funds will automatically be withdrawn from your account. Your financial donations change lives.

It’s easy to sign up online at www.mealmakers.org.

Pantry Spotlight: Pittsburg Food Pantry

The Pittsburg Food Pantry has served the residents of Williamson County in Illinois for nearly 20 years.

Eight years ago, River Church, at the invitation of the Village of Pittsburg, took over the responsibility of the Pantry, and has run it from their location ever since. The Pantry is open the last

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Saturday of every month from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. and provides emergency food boxes between distribution days. In addition, it provides blood pressure screenings upon request and helps people fill out requests for SNAP benefits. On average, the Pittsburg Food Pantry feeds 350 people each month.

“We strive to meet any need that we can,” notes the pantry director, Melissa Swayze. “We like to think that our set-up is unique. For example, we load the food for every person that comes in our door; they do not carry it out themselves. We have blood pressure screenings available and can help with just about any situation someone may have. If we cannot help them, we can certainly help get them the information that they may need to find that help.” The Pantry serves people from all types of life situations, including job loss or unexpected expenses that take limited income away from buying food. The organization also has seen an increase in the number of senior citizens coming for food assistance.

A Foodbank partner for the past eight years, Pittsburg Food Pantry receives many types of dry goods, produce, dairy and household items in deliveries twice a month. “These items are greatly important,” says Swayze. “Our Pantry depends heavily on the Foodbank. We would not be able to serve the number of people we do without the Foodbank.”

September is Potato Month

Each year, the Foodbank distributes roughly 800,000 lbs of potatoes to families in need. We know how to celebrate a potato around here!

Potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins like B6. They’re also extremely versatile, and an easy addition to any meal. September is National Potato Month, so we’re giving our spud friends some love. Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates a simple and tasty potato salad recipe in our latest recipe video.

Easy Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of baby red potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup onion (red or white), finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  2. Combine onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise in a bowl.
  3. Once potatoes have cooled, combine potatoes with mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Give the recipe a try, and let us know what you think!

After School Snacks

When students come home hungry, keep the learning going by teaching them about healthy eating habits.

Kelly, our Registered Dietitian, shows some simple snacks that will fill your kids up and keep them from added sugars, sodium, and preservatives.

Ants on a Log

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raisins
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and place raisins on peanut butter.

Snail Snacks

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • pretzels, broken into pieces
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and press an apple slice into peanut butter.
  2. Place pretzel pieces at the end of the celery in the peanut butter, so they look like snail antennas.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:
  • 1 cups cereal
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup granola
  • 3/4 cup raisins
Instructions:
  1. Mix together and enjoy!
The best thing about this recipe is that it is completely customizable based on what you and your family like. This recipe contains 4 ingredients, but feel free to add multiple kinds of cereal or several dried fruits. If your child has a nut allergy or doesn’t like raisins, feel free to make the trail mix they will most enjoy by adding their favorite snacks.

Trail Mix Tips

Here’s a break down of different trail mix components and what each item will add to your snack. Happy mixing!

Nuts

  • Nuts are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Whether they’re raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.
  • Our healthy favorites: Almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. Higher-calorie macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and pine nuts are also good options in moderation.

Seeds

  • Seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts.
  • Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.

Dried Fruit

  • This sugary treat can easily become a danger, so pay attention to the ingredient list and serving sizes. In moderation, dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible. It’s also pretty easy to make your own dried fruit at home in the oven.
  • Our Favorites: Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, and pineapple chunks.

Grains

  • Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.
  • Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like Cheerios or Chex, bran flakes, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.

Sweets

  • Sometimes we all need a little something sweet to round out the mix. Just remember to add treat-like options sparingly. Add a sprinkling of M&Ms, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, or chocolate-covered nuts. Choose dark varieties for extra antioxidants.

Savory Extras

  • Once the building blocks are all set, adding spices is a great way to change up the flavor a bit. Season lightly with sea salt, curry, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or cayenne pepper.

Combinations

  • Simple and Sophisticated: Almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, sea salt, cinnamon.
  • Old-School GORP: Peanuts, raisins, M&Ms.
  • Tropical Mix: Cashews, Brazil nuts, dried mango, coconut flakes, banana chips.
  • Fall Flavors: Pecans, dried apples, maple granola, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • Savory Seeds: Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper.
  • Beachy: Macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, dried pineapple, coconut flakes.
  • Nuts for Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans, raisins.
  • Chocolate Lover: Hazelnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate-covered almonds, M&Ms, cacao nibs.
  • Monkey Munch: Banana chips, peanuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips, raisins, coconut flakes.
  • Movie Night: Popcorn, peanuts, M&Ms, dried cranberries.

Kids always come home from school with an appetite, so make sure they have healthy options to choose from to keep their minds and bodies in shape for this school year.

Zucchini Day

Happy National Zucchini Day from the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable that is good for you, so we’re celebrating today with zucchini fries. Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates this easy recipe in our latest video below.

Zucchini is full of vitamin K, which helps support blood and bone health. It’s also a light vegetable that’s perfect for summer meals because it won’t make you feel weighed down.

The recipe for zucchini fries and a recipe for zucchini corn salad are below. Try them out and let us know what you think!

 

Baked Zucchini Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Working in batches, drop zucchini in flour, then dip into eggs, then place in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat.
  4. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Zucchini and Corn Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

We’re Under Construction!

If you’ve been out to our facility recently, you may have noticed a few changes.

It’s not uncommon to see bulldozers, shovels, and cranes hanging out around the front of our building these days. We’re in the middle of some big changes that will help us fight hunger in our community. We’re adding a second-floor addition to house our new Hunger Engagement Center.

The Hunger Engagement Center will provide a versatile space for meetings and classrooms to help us engage with the community. We’ll also have a kitchen prep space for cooking demonstrations and other food-related outreach.

The first floor is also being expanded to include more rooms and storage for our growing company, and wonderful volunteers. We’re very excited about our expansion, and we can’t wait to put it to good use soon. Below are some photos that show the big changes we’re making.

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This area used to house our Agency Relations team.
May 24, 2016 (2)
The area was cleared of all non-structural furnishings.

 

 

July 12, 2016 (4)
New steel was installed to support the second floor.
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Wall supports are being added to the first floor.

Hot Weather Hydration Tips

As the temperatures get higher, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, shares some tips to keep you hydrated and feeling your best throughout the summer.
Hydration Do’s:
  • Eat fresh produce.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat lighter meals.

Hydration Don’ts:

  • Eat processed meals and foods.
  • Drink sugary beverages.
  • Eat greasy or heavy meals.

Bank of America Volunteers

A core group of ten Bank of America employees has volunteered once a quarter at the Foodbank since 2011, with as many as 29 people volunteering overall.

They chose the St. Louis Area  Foodbank because they wanted to volunteer for an effort that they knew would help as many families as possible in the greater St. Louis area. Several of these volunteers are parents or grandparents of Cub and/or Boy Scouts and became familiar with the Foodbank through the annual “Scouting for Food” drive. These volunteers perform repackaging tasks for various items and programs such as senior food boxes, fresh produce and items donated by local grocery stores.

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The St. Louis Area Foodbank is grateful for the ongoing commitment of these volunteers, as well as other volunteer groups. They make a real impact on our ability to keep costs down, to stretch our resources further and to benefit clients in need. If you have a group of people interested in volunteering at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, please visit our website.