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All for Food Safety and Food Safety for All!

This summer, we’re distributing kits to ensure food safety is a top priority.

In 2014, we received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to purchase food safety items for our partner pantries. The items distributed included thermal blankets, a thermometer, and bungee cords. All of these items are meant to keep food the correct temperature while in transit from our facility or from our retail grocery store partners.

High Standards for an Important Cause

According to AIB (the American Institute of Baking) and Feeding America standards, these items should be used to safely handle food. We take food safety very seriously and are held to high standards to provide quality food for our community partners.

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Food safety kits like these will be distributed to all of our partner agencies by the end of July.

 

Getting the Job Done

Thanks to a generous donation from the Walmart Foundation, we were able to purchase and distribute these kits to our partner Illinois pantries this year. By the end of July, we will have distributed these kits to all of our partner pantries in Missouri and Illinois. We take these measures to ensure the food we distribute stays in the best condition possible, so it’s ready for a hungry family to take it home.

Summer Vegetables

We have some good tips for how to include vegetables in your diet inexpensively.

Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, explains the importance of eating different types and colors of vegetables. In our most recent video, she explains how the color of a vegetable can indicate which vitamins are in it. She also has some great tips to save you money and keep you healthy by shopping locally.

Members of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs receive a convenient abundance of fresh, local produce and they build a relationship with their local food system.  Many members also appreciate the opportunity to try new types and varieties of vegetables.

If you’re interested in joining a CSA, here are three good recommendations in the area:

Gateway Greening 

Earth Dance 

Fair Shares 

If you’re interested in shopping at farmers markets, you can find a map of St. Louis area markets here.

If you want some tips on home gardening, check out our blog from April that has helpful resources.

Find more recipes and ideas for using vegetables on our website stlfoodbank.org.

June is National Dairy Month

Whether you’re enjoying a delicious yogurt parfait or a glass of milk, you’re doing yourself a favor with dairy!

Dairy is a great source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D – all necessary for strong and healthy bodies. Our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, put together a couple recipes for delicious, dairy-based snacks that are perfect for summer snacks.

We’d also like to thank the Midwest Dairy Council for their partnership in helping us get dairy to families in need.

Fruit Dip

Ingredients

¾ cup part-skim Ricotta cheese

½ cup vanilla low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice, or half of an orange, juiced

1 tablespoon finely shredded or zested orange peel

Assorted cut-up fresh fruit

Directions

  1.       Combine ricotta cheese, yogurt, sugar, orange juice and orange peel in a blender or food processor or mix by hand.
  2.       Blend or mix until smooth.
  3.       If desired, cover and chill up to 24 hours. Serve with assorted fruit like apple, pear, peach and orange slices to dip.

Fruit & Granola Parfait

Ingredients

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

½ cup crunchy granola or low fat cereal

½ cup fresh fruit, sliced (i.e. strawberries, blueberries, bananas)

Directions

  1.       To assemble parfait, begin with spooning half of the yogurt in the bottom of a bowl or tall glass.
  2.       Add 2 tablespoons granola and ½ cup fruit.
  3.       Spoon on the rest of the yogurt.
  4.       Top with remaining 2 tablespoons of granola.

Feeding Kids this Summer

As summer begins, many children will not have enough to eat without school lunch and breakfast programs.

Most kids who receive free or reduced school lunches don’t receive summer meals to make up for those that they lose. One vital way to combat summer hunger is summer feeding sites. These locations provide balanced meals for kids who need food throughout the summer. This year, we have seven partner summer feeding sites in Missouri and Illinois.

The easiest way to find a summer feeding site nearest you is by texting FOOD to 877 877. Once you text FOOD, you’ll be asked to send your street, city and zip code and will receive the locations and operating hours for sites closest to you. Please share this information with your friends and family to spread the word!

Most sites only require a child to be 18 years old or younger to receive meals, and some provide breakfast or dinner in addition to lunch.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository put together a video of the people who advocated to strengthen the summer feeding program in Illinois.

Partner Summer Feeding Sites

Illinois

Zion UCC

414 West Hanover

New Baden, IL 62265

5/25-8/12

Lunch- 11:30-1:00 PM


Madison Mt. Nebo

1634 7th St.

Madison, IL 62060

6/1-7/22

Breakfast- 9:00-10:00

Lunch- 12:00-1:00


Murphysboro SPIN

822 West Industrial Park Rd

Murphysboro, IL 62966

6/6-8/5

Lunch-12:00- 1:00


Sparta IMPACK

612 E. Harrison St.

Sparta, IL 62286

6/13-8/12

Lunch- 11:00-1:00


Murphysboro Youth & Rec

1818 Walnut Street

Murphysboro, IL 62966

6/15-7/29

Lunch-11:00-12:00

Dinner-4:00-5:00

Missouri

Trinity Church

3515 Shackelford

Florissant,MO  63031

6/8 – 8/9

Lunch: Noon – 1p.m.


God First Church

12025 Raymond Ave

Spanish Lake, MO 63138

6/8 – 8/9

Lunch: Noon – 1 p.m.

BBQ Tips

As the weather warms up, barbecues are a tasty way to enjoy the outdoors, time with friends and family, and great food.

Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates some fresh ideas to keep your cookout delicious and healthy. Try the recipes for a delicious marinade or grilled mushrooms and let us know what you think!

Grilled Mushrooms in Foil Packets

Ingredients

1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cut four 12-by-12-inch squares of heavy aluminum foil, or eight squares of regular aluminum foil (stack two sheets each of the lighter foil to make four squares).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Use a large spoon to blend the ingredients.
  3. Divide the mushrooms among the four squares. Fold the squares over and crimp the edges together to form well-sealed packets. Place on a hot grill, and grill 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Remove packets from the grill and carefully open it to check for doneness. The mushrooms should be tender and juicy. Either transfer to plates or bowls (there will be lots of juice), or cut the packets and eat the mushrooms directly from them. Have lots of crusty bread on hand to sop up the juices.

 

Quick & Easy Grill Marinade

Ingredients

2 tablespoons mustard (Use which ever mustard you prefer, Dijon or Honey are both great choices)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients together.
  2. Let meat or vegetables marinate for at least 30 minutes. The longer the items marinate, the more time the flavors have to combine.

Find more recipes >>

The Blues Give Back

You may have noticed that the Blues are a pretty popular conversation topic around this town lately.

They’ve been playing some great games in the quest for the Stanley Cup, and this city is definitely behind them all the way.

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Not only are the Blues fantastic athletes, they give back to the community in a big way. This March, the Blues hosted a food and funds drive to provide more meals for hungry people in our community. When all was said and done, the food and money collected provided over 9,000 meals!

 

Whether it’s working with kids, raising money to fight cancer or feeding hungry families, the Blues are dedicated to their city, and that’s why we bleed blue!

blues drive 2

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, put together two recipes that highlight fresh flavors and ingredients.

Celebrate this Thursday and all through summer with these fresh and flavorful dips. They’re perfect as an appetizer, a snack, or to compliment meals.

Salsa

3 cups chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Stir the tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Serve.


Guacamole

2 ripe avocados

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ripe tomato, chopped

1 lime, juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, and lime juice. Season with  salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Tip: You can use homemade or store bought salsa in place of the onion and tomato.

Garden Planning and Preparation

Spring is here, and April showers are quickly becoming May flowers – or vegetables!

farmersmarket

One of the most cost-effective way to get fresh produce in your diet is to grow them right in your backyard. Many vegetables are easy to care for as long as you do the right amount of planning and preparation.

If you don’t have a yard, many plants can be grown in pots on porches, patios, or in window sills. Even having a small herb garden will save you money on delicious flavors for your meals.
Planning your garden can be as simple as deciding which vegetables your family likes and how much space you have to utilize. Preparing your garden will likely consist of clearing garden beds of weeds and rocks, and filling pots with soil.

This blog walks you through a simple way to plan your garden, so you and your family get the best use of it throughout the season. 

Here, you’ll find an infographic that explains the best plants to grow in beds and pots, when to plant and harvest each plant, and which plants grow well together. 

Tips for planning and preparing your garden:

  • Involve your whole family in the planning process. This way, each family member can have a say in what they’d like to grow, and kids will get a better understanding of where food comes from.
  • Write it down! Not only will this make it easy to remember what you want to grow, it will serve as a reminder to get the job done. Use maps and diagrams to help you plan out your space more efficiently.
  • Water your bed before you clean it out. It may seem like a waste to water a bed full of weeds, but unwanted plants are pulled out more easily if the ground is wet. This will also help get the soil ready for new plants.
  • Skip the seeds. Many stores and even farmers markets sell sprouted plants at relatively low costs. By planting young plants instead of seeds, you’ll see results sooner. The cost is generally outweighed by the benefit, especially with plants like tomatoes, peppers or beans that yield more than one harvest throughout the season.

Mini Cooper Test Drive

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MINI Cooper is partnering with Feeding America during their Test Drive Program.

During the MINI Cooper Test Drive Program, Feeding America receives a $20 donation for every test drive. As a partner food bank, that money will help feed people in our region! Each test drive would mean 80 meals for families in need.

The program runs from April 15 – 24.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to give back to your community, visit  MINI of St. Louis and test out a new MINI Cooper!

MINI of St. Louis

40 Sunnen Dr

Maplewood, MO

63143 

Garlic Month

April is National Garlic Month, and our Registered Dietitian has several reasons for you to celebrate.

Garlic is very versatile, which makes it an easy and inexpensive addition to lots of dishes. Garlic is heart healthy because it reduces the risk of heart disease, and it’s antioxidant properties reduce the chance of getting colds and the flu. Additionally, it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, and calcium.
Kelly has put together recipes for two different dips that are easy to make, and great with a variety of crackers, vegetables or chips.

Easy Garlic Hummus

Ingredients

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor; add reserved bean liquid into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved.


Garlic and Herb Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

1 cup plain, fat free Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, minced garlic clove, chopped chives, salt, pepper, dried dill, and lemon juice; serve with veggies, crackers, or chips.

PS: If you’re worried about garlic breath, eating an apple or drinking green tea can help neutralize garlic on your breath!