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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

National School Lunch Week Infographic

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

Feed Ferguson Update

It has been amazing to see the work being done in the Ferguson community to make sure that kids and families that are in need of food assistance are getting the help they need.

We were thrilled to see that the Ferguson-Florissant school district made the decision to provide lunch for students this week. Learn more on KSDK

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Community Resource Drop-In Center

At the Foodbank, we have been concentrating our efforts on providing food assistance to the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ Community Resource Drop-In Center at the Dellwood Recreation Center (10266 W. Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63136). To date, we have delivered more than 14,000 pounds of food to be distributed to kids and families affected by the unrest in Ferguson.

On Saturday, August 23 and into the early part of the next week, we are using our Foodbank trucks to pick up donations of food, personal care items, school supplies and cleaning supplies from area businesses that will be delivered directly to the Community Resource Drop-In Center.


Feed the Students of Ferguson

On Monday, August 25 we are scheduled to receive the first shipment of cereal that will be distributed among our partner agencies that serve Ferguson and the surrounding communities.

More food should be arriving later in the week. Using the funds raised by the Feed the Students of Ferguson Fundly campaign, we will be providing more food to help ensure that students in the Ferguson/Florissant school district and their families will not have to choose between paying for food and other basic necessities as the town rebuilds and recovers.

Stay Involved

The Fundly campaign has ended, but if you would like to contribute to the Ferguson Fund, please visit the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ page:
http://www.stl.unitedway.org/helpingferguson/

If you would like to support the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s mission of feeding hungry people throughout the bi-state region, please visit our donation page:
http://stlfoodbank.org/donate/

If you would like the donation to go specifically to our efforts in Ferguson and the surrounding areas of North St. Louis County, please put “Ferguson” in the comments section.

 

Read our first update on helping Ferguson

We feed people in need.

The child who has no certainty of a healthy lunch. The working poor who cannot afford groceries.The senior citizen who must choose between food and medicine.

Hunger does not discriminate. It exists everywhere. And it only exists because we allow it.

We can solve hunger.

But charity cannot fight this fight alone.

Sign up to be a champion for the cause.



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We need you to be
the voice of those
less fortunate.

Helping Ferguson

The St. Louis Area Foodbank has served the St. Louis community for nearly 40 years and will continue to do so as long as there is a need for food assistance.



Immediate Response to Ferguson

On Saturday, the St. Louis Area Foodbank partnered with the United Way of the Greater St. Louis to deliver 5,000 pounds of food to the Dellwood Community Center to help feed people in need in the Ferguson community.

This food was product the Foodbank had previously collected in food drives and is not associated with the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign.




“Feed the Students of Ferguson” Fundly Campaign

At this time, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is the planned recipient of the money raised by the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign.

The campaign, created by North Carolina school teacher Julianna Mendelsohn, has raised more than $80,000 so far. The campaign will end Thursday.

The outpouring of support from across the country has been overwhelming. The funds donated through the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign have been earmarked for the Ferguson community, where children in need will continue to struggle with hunger long after the news cameras leave.

Have you received the funds from the Feed the Students of Ferguson campaign?

We had not yet received the funds as of noon today, August 20, 2014. After a discussion with the management of Fundly, we agreed that the funds raised would be transferred to the St. Louis Area Foodbank starting Thursday, August 21, 2014.

What will you do with the money?

Our goal is to provide a sustainable, long-term hunger relief program for the children of the Ferguson community. We have five partner food pantries in and around Ferguson who have been providing food to families in the community during this difficult time. These pantries serve the Ferguson community year-round, a hunger relief mission that the Foodbank will continue to support in any way we can.

As we look to the future, the Foodbank will implement a specific long-term plan for feeding children in need in Ferguson and provide a full financial accounting on the use of the campaign funds donated.

How long does the campaign run?

At this time, we plan to stop taking donations via the Fundly campaign, Feed the Students of Ferguson, on Thursday, August 21, 2014.




Future Recovery Efforts

The recovery effort in Ferguson will take time and the combined efforts of organizations and individuals in the St. Louis region. Our goal is to provide a steady supply of food to those in need in the Ferguson community for months to come.



How to Help

Anyone interested in supporting the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s efforts to feed hungry people can make a donation through the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign https://fundly.com/feed-the-students-of-ferguson or make a donation at www.stlfoodbank.org and put “Ferguson” in the comments section.

For those looking for other ways to help the people of Ferguson please contact the United Way of Greater St. Louis.