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Ways to Get Involved this Autumn

 Giving back to your community can be a great way to spend time together and to help make someone else’s holiday a little brighter.

Autumn is a time to spend time with family and friends as we approach the holiday season. Some of our best memories of the past and plans for the future include a meal shared with loved ones. Autumn is also a great time of year to get involved through volunteering with loved ones.

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The St. Louis Area Foodbank partners with over five hundred food pantries, soup kitchens and residential facilities in our region to distribute food to those in need. The opportunities to volunteer this season are abundant and appreciated.

Give Back 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.

Host a Holiday Food Drive

Holidays typically mean a lot of shopping for everyone. Start a collection of items to be donated. Get your whole family involved and tell your friends. Then, take your donation to your nearest food pantry or bring it to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Taking the time to think of others can be as easy as picking up a few extra food items for those in need.

Check out the 35 Best Items to Donate. 

 

We are often amazed at the giving spirit we encounter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and are so proud to operate in such a gracious community. As the season gets colder and busier, consider donating your time to a local pantry or soup kitchen to add the warmth of volunteering to your holiday.

Time is Ticking: Call Congress TODAY

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It’s time to take a stand. Time is running out to pass a child nutrition bill, so we are organizing advocates across the country to turn up the heat on Congress. 

Congress only addresses child nutrition programs once every five years, and we can’t miss this opportunity to improve the programs that help our nation’s kids get the nutritious food they need to thrive.  ​

It’s time for Congress to get to work. Join us in urging Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill for our kids!

Call Congress Today! Here’s how:

    1. Dial our toll free number, (888) 398-8702 and listen to the pre-recorded message.
    2. Connect to your Senator first and enter your zip code.
    3. Once you are connected to your first Senator, state that you are a constituent and give your name and the town you are calling from.
    4. Let them know you are calling about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and deliver this important message:

Time is running out to pass a strong child nutrition bill.  Too many kids in our community are not getting the nutritious food they need, and Congress can’t let the opportunity to improve these programs go by. These programs have a history of strong bi-partisan support. I urge you to pass a strong child nutrition bill this year that strengthens the programs so children have the fuel they need to grow up healthy and succeed. 

Be sure to dial back in so you talk to both of your Senators and your Representative.

Help us spread the word by sharing and posting on social media using #CNR2015​

Apple Month Recipe

October is National Apple Month, so our Registered Dietitian, Kelly Hall, put together a recipe that’s perfect for this time of year.

Braised Apples and Cabbage is a colorful, tangy addition to any meal. Kelly demonstrates the ideal size of the chopped items and what the finished product looks like. Try it out and let us know what you think!

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Braised Apples and Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Gala or Fuji apple, halved, cored, and sliced
  • 1 head red cabbage (2 pounds), cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and apple; cook, stirring, until onion softens, approximately 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in cabbage and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Add cider vinegar, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy World Food Day!

Friday, October 16, is World Food Day, a day to stand together against world hunger. Our Dietitian, Kelly Hall, has put together some simple recipes from around the world for you to try. 

All over the world, people will be taking action against hunger on World Food Day. Even in St. Louis, people will be working together to package meals for the hungry at home and abroad. You can find out more about World Food Day here.

Mexico

Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are quick and easy Mexican dish: a corn or flour tortilla stuffed with meat and covered in a tomato-chili sauce. They’ve been around since Mayan times and are a versatile dish that allows for the use of a variety of meats and veggies depending on what you have on hand. Serve them with rice and beans for a complete Mexican meal.

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

8 6-inch corn tortillas

2 1⁄2 cups canned enchilada sauce

Directions

Enchiladas Suizas

Heat oven to 400° F. Place the chicken on a baking sheet. Rub with the oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, until cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes; let cool, then shred.

In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 cup of cheese. Dividing evenly, roll up the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place seam-side down in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the enchilada sauce and the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add a side of rice and beans for a complete Mexican meal.

Italy

Italian Sausage Soup

Sausage Soup is a hearty staple of the Italian diet, especially during the cold winter months. It combines fresh herbs with the pasta, cheese, and tomatoes that Italy is known for. Pair this soup with garlic bread for a delicious and filling meal.

Ingredients

8 ounces hot or sweet turkey Italian sausage

2 cups reduced or no sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta

2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan, and cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return to pan.

Add broth, tomatoes, and pasta to pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and basil.
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Shop ‘n Save Donation

Over the summer, Shop ‘n Save used a variety of means to collect food and funds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Seeking to address food insecurity over the summer months, the grocery chain organized the “Wipe Out Summer Hunger” campaign. The campaign ran from June through August and included tie-ins to the Slide the City event, a management team-building challenge and help from some of their loyal vendors. When it was all said and done, Shop ‘n Save employees, their customers and vendors raised $55,175 worth of food and funds to feed hungry people in our region!

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The Summer Campaigns

In April, Shop ‘n Save store managers from around the area gathered at their headquarters in Kirkwood for the announcement of the “Wipe Out Summer
Hunger” campaign. They also took part in a training exercise with business consultant Mark Jewell. Mark split the managers into smaller groups and gave each group $20 and challenged them to multiply their money 10 times over, in a matter of hours. The group far exceeded that goal and ended up raising $9,410 that was all donated to the Foodbank.

Wipeout Logo

From June through August, Shop ‘n Save customers were able to purchase pre-packaged “Wipe Out Summer Hunger” bags of food as a donation to the Foodbank. This campaign brought in nearly $25,000 in food donations!

Slide the City was an event held July 11 and 12. It was a hot and humid weekend, which drove residents downtown by the thousands. Slide the City made a $60 donation for each volunteer that the Foodbank secured. Over the course of the two day event, 148 volunteers helped check-in sliders, hand out innertubes and help sliders get down the 1,000 foot slip ‘n slide. Nearly half those volunteers were Shop ‘n Save employees.  

It All Comes Together in a Big Way

On Wednesday, October 8, a convoy of five trucks departed from the SuperValu Distribution Center in Hazelwood and delivered enough food and funds to help the Foodbank provide 220,000+ meals to our neighbors in need. Staff members from both the Foodbank and Shop ‘n Save welcomed the trucks to our warehouse in Earth City. Among the various staff members, Frank Finnegan, president and CEO of the Foodbank, chatted with Eric Hymas, banner president of Shop ‘n Save about the collaborative efforts to feed the bi-state region.

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In addition to their efforts over the summer, our drivers regularly pick up food from 37 area Shop ‘n Save stores every week. In the last year alone, they donated 2.7 million pounds of food through that program.

The food and funds delivered to the Foodbank last week are an encouraging sign of the support our community provides. 

We are so grateful for great partners like Shop ‘n Save!

The Recipe Card: September 2015

We talked to clients from Irvington, IL to get their favorite recipes for some of the produce items we distributed that day.

With produce items like potatoes, onions, bananas, apples, and watermelons there was no shortage of inspiration! Now that it’s starting to feel like Autumn, it’s the perfect time of year for a warm Potato Cheese Casserole or Apple French Toast.
What are some of your favorite recipes for the Fall months?

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Potato Cheese Casserole

Ingredients:

1 Onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

3-4 potatoes, chopped

½ bar of velveeta cheese

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Layer vegetables and cheese in a casserole dish.
  3. Sprinkle top with salt and pepper to taste and top with a layer of cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted over top.

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Apple French Toast

Ingredients:

1-2 apples, sliced

½ cup white sugar

2 Tbs butter

6 slices bread

2 eggs

½ cup milk

Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. Dip bread in egg mixture and cook both sides 1-2 minutes until toasted. Set bread aside.
  3. Melt butter in skillet, add sugar and stir until the sugar begins to melt.
  4. Add the apples, stir occasionally until the apples are tender and juices mix with the sugar mixture.
  5. Sprinkle toast with cinnamon and top with apple mixture. Serve warm.

Tammy and Mary’s Fruit Salad Bowl

Ingredients:

1 whole watermelon

Assorted Fruit, sliced/balled/chopped

Instructions:

  1. Cut watermelon in half. Carve melon out of the rind, but save the rind to use as the bowl.
  2. Mix melon and fruits together and place in watermelon rind.

Easy Black Beans and Rice

For National Rice Month, we’re sharing an easy rice and black beans recipe.

This recipe is great for a side dish, and by adding a protein, it works well as a main dish, too. (Try it with chicken or sausage!) Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily modified- you can add your favorite vegetables or proteins to suit you and your family’s tastes.

What would you add to this recipe?

Easy Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (substitute with brown rice as a healthier option)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (for added flavor you can use roasted red bell peppers)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. White rice usually takes 15 minutes to cook once the water is simmering, and 10 minutes to sit.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sauté onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the black beans, vinegar and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

fit-flavors Collaboration

Much of what we do is only possible because of the partnerships we have with organizations in our community.

Recently, the St. Louis Area Foodbank had a great opportunity to partner with fit-flavors, a company that sells healthy, prepared meals.

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As the food market evolves, prepared meals are becoming more and more common. Fit-flavors is a product of that evolution and seeks to provide nutritious, portion-controlled meals for people on the go who are trying to eat right. Likewise, the Foodbank has taken the appropriate steps to accept and distribute prepared food donations. By working together, both organizations can do more to serve more people in the community.


Owner and founder, Jillian Tedesco, answered a few questions about her company and its partnership with the Foodbank.

Why did you decide to partner with the food bank?

Honestly, because I want to help people. I feel like God has blessed me with the success of fit-flavors and such a good team so that I can do things like this, such as feed others.

What other charities has fit-flavors supported?

We’ve been involved with Cardinal Glennon, Treehouse, Easter Seals Midwest and a homeless shelter in St. Charles.

Where was all this food going before your partnered with the food bank?

Some meals we allowed employees to take home but now that we donate to the food bank, we actually cook in abundance 4 days before so that we are able to donate more meals while making sure that the donations are still fresh. We also pull from our coolers a day early so that we are able to make a larger donation.

It’s been about a month and a half since you’ve partnered with the food bank. How are you feeling about everything?

I’m feeling great about all of it and as we continue to grow and open more locations we will only have more food to donate.

By partnering with this non-profit organization what kind of example do you think you are setting for your team?

I think that by having the whole team involved, from staff cooking and packaging the meals,then the front of house staff who counts inventory and pulls the meals that will go to the food bank, the whole team is involved with the process and everyone is happy to be a part of it in some way. People helping people.

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We are very happy to work with fit-flavors and their team!

We Need Your Voice!

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The current Child Nutrition Reauthorization expires on September 30 and we need to make sure Congress knows that passing a strong child nutrition bill that strengthens programs and reaches more kids must be a priority.

You can help by participating in our national call in day on Tuesday, September 15, and joining thousands of supporters from across the country to urge Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill and ensure no child in America goes hungry.

Let’s show Congress that it’s time to end child hunger in America. 

 Calling Congress is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Dial our toll free number, (888) 398-8702, listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted.
  2. Once you are connected to your first Member of Congress, state that you are a constituent, and give your name and the town you are calling from. (Please note the separate messages below).
  3. Senators – deliver this important message:
    As your constituent and supporter of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, please co-sponsor the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act (S. 1966) and the Summer Meals Act (S. 613).
  4. Representative – deliver this important message: As your constituent and supporter of the St. Louis Area Foodbank,  I would like to see Congress pass a child nutrition bill that includes these three priorities. Streamline regulations for summer and after school meals. A summer EBT program to help families when school is out. A non-congregate meal option so program operators like food banks can reach kids who can’t access summer meal sites.
  5.  Be sure to dial back in and speak with your senator and your representative. Please note: Senator Blunt (MO) and Senator Kirk (IL) are already co-sponsoring this legislation. 

Double your impact in the Senate by sending an email

Quick and Easy Chicken Salad

It’s National Chicken Month, and we’re celebrating with a classic favorite.

With only five ingredients, this makes for a fast, versatile chicken salad. Eat it on a sandwich, with crackers, or scoop it up with some celery.

What is your favorite chicken recipe?

Quick and Easy Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1/3 cup red grapes, cut in quarters
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well incorporated.

2. Serve immediately or refrigerate and enjoy later.

 

Find more easy recipes like this one on stlfoodbank.org!