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.
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.
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.
Bread for Life Food Pantry in Troy, MO, focuses on the needs of families, including children and seniors.
Bread for Life Food Pantry, located in Troy, Mo., has served residents in need from Lincoln County since 2003. It began as a mission of the Greater Troy Ministerial Alliance, who recognized the need for a community food pantry. Today, the pantry operates as an independent nonprofit organization, distributing food to clients every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., except on the last Wednesday of the month, when hours are from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The Salvation Army uses the Bread for Life facility each Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. until noon, assisting clients needing help with housing and utilities.
Clients can come to the pantry once each month. Back in 2003, it served approximately 50 families per month. Today, 390 families on average are served each month. In 2015, the pantry worked with a total of 5,563 families; 34 percent of those receiving food are children 18 and younger.
Working Together to Feed More People
Seniors are also a significant focus for the pantry. Bread for Life partners with the Lincoln County Council on Aging (LCCOA) in many ways. Each month, the pantry’s delivery of product from the St. Louis Area Foodbank includes a pallet of produce for LCCOA. Their drivers come to the pantry and take these produce items to the ‘Nutrition Site’. In addition, Bread for Life partners with LCCOA on the ‘Senior Box’ project. Thirty clients per month receive a box of food from the pantry – the boxes are delivered by the Nutrition Site drivers. The thirty recipients are chosen by LCCOA and they are not pantry clients, but are identified as in need of food. The program will expand to 50 boxes within the next six months.
The pantry also shares product with LCCOA on a regular basis. “If we have extra bread or other perishable items that need to be distributed before the next pantry day, LCCOA accepts the product to use in their daily operation,” says Harriet Zuroweste, Bread for Life co-director. “These blended programs have been very helpful to both agencies.”
Building Lives Through Community
For many clients, the Bread for Life Food Pantry provides not only food, but also a sense of community. “We have clients who live alone and have no family in the area,” Zuroweste notes. “First, they may come to the pantry as a client. After a few visits, they begin to know the workers who they see every month. And then it is not unusual for them to ask about volunteering – and they become a part of the pantry family. We are often told they look forward to Wednesdays and coming to work with familiar faces. The pantry becomes an anchor for them.”
Bread for Life has obtained food from the Foodbank for more than a decade. “When donors ask if we would rather have food donations or cash, we always tell them cash,” says Zuroweste. “Cash donations go a long way in securing produce, canned goods, pizzas, chicken, pasta and all kinds of staples from the Foodbank.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
Combine ricotta cheese, yogurt, sugar, orange juice and orange peel in a blender or food processor or mix by hand.
Blend or mix until smooth.
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
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
½ cup crunchy granola or low fat cereal
½ cup fresh fruit, sliced (i.e. strawberries, blueberries, bananas)
To assemble parfait, begin with spooning half of the yogurt in the bottom of a bowl or tall glass.
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. This year, we have seven partner summer feeding sites in Missouri and Illinois. These locations provide balanced meals for kids who need food throughout the summer.
We received a $5,000 Summer Meals Program Grant from Share Our Strength and the Illinois No Kid Hungry Campaign to help provide meals at these sites this summer. We’re grateful for the community support that allows us to feed more kids.
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.
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
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
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).
In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Use a large spoon to blend the ingredients.
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.
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
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
Combine all ingredients together.
Let meat or vegetables marinate for at least 30 minutes. The longer the items marinate, the more time the flavors have to combine.