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.
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 You can choose an amount that fits with your giving budget to have funds automatically withdrawn from your banking account.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 Again, funds will automatically be withdrawn from your account.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.
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
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.”
The BBC interviewed Ritenour Co-Care, one of our partner pantries, about the election and how it affects their service to the community.
We’re proud of Ritenour Co-Care and all of our partner pantries for doing their best to serve hungry families in our region. Thank you to the BBC for helping shine some light on the issue of hunger in our world.
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
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
Boil potatoes until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Combine onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise in a bowl.
Once potatoes have cooled, combine potatoes with mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Give the recipe a try, and let us know what you think!
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
1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
Spread peanut butter over celery and place raisins on peanut butter.
1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 apple, sliced thinly
pretzels, broken into pieces
Spread peanut butter over celery and press an apple slice into peanut butter.
Place pretzel pieces at the end of the celery in the peanut butter, so they look like snail antennas.
1 cups cereal
1 cup unsalted peanuts
3/4 cup granola
3/4 cup raisins
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simple and Sophisticated: Almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, sea salt, cinnamon.
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
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
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Working in batches, drop zucchini in flour, then dip into eggs, then place in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat.
Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Zucchini and Corn Salad
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
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.
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.
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.”
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