Every year since 1963, May has been designated by the National Council of Senior Citizens as the month for the United States to appreciate and celebrate older adults and their contributions to our communities.
Feeding America food banks like the St. Louis Area Foodbank participate in the movement by raising awareness and showing support for the 4.8 million seniors facing hunger in our country.
You can do your part to help increase awareness for the issue of senior hunger by joining our social media campaign #SolveSeniorHunger. Read more
While we may live in the land of plenty, more than one in five children in America does not know where their next meal will come from.
This “food insecurity” often goes hand-in-hand with childhood obesity. Disrupted meal patterns, stressful home situations, and an overall lack of access to nutritious foods contribute to both epidemics.
When kids aren’t well-nourished, they are much more likely to experience health and developmental issues, and struggle with poor academic performance and behavioral problems. Read more
In honor of National Nutrition Month, it is important to take a look at the efforts being made to provide healthy food options to the millions of people in need of food assistance in our country.
With an ever-growing push toward eating healthy and staying fit, food banks like the St. Louis Area Foodbank are trying to do their part to provide clients with healthier foods. We also strive to give families in need nutrition education to help them make healthy choices on their own.
We distribute millions of pounds of food to those in need, and we want to make sure that food not only fills the clients’ stomachs, but also helps them provide a healthier future for their families.
Typically seen as a large warehouse that distributes shelf-stable food, the Foodbank is evolving. We are working hard to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats.
One of our overall goals is to better meet the nutritional needs of those we serve. Diets rich in these foods will help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes – three conditions that are prevalent in today’s society, particularly for the poor.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank is also focusing on programs and services that will help communities gain additional access to healthy food. We also share opportunities for families to learn the benefits of health eating.
We help families in need apply for food stamps, and provide senior citizens with a supplemental box of food every month. These are just two ways we are offering struggling families in our area better access to healthy, nourishing food choices.
Our food fairs and mobile markets deliver fresh produce, bakery goods and dairy products to pantries all around the St. Louis region. We also provide our clients with a wide variety of resources to make healthy living a possibility for those struggling to make ends meet.
One of the best resources to help food banks and health professionals bridge the gap between hunger relief and good nutrition is the Healthy Food Bank Hub.
The Hub is designed to provide healthy food resources to food banks across the country. The tool includes information on healthy food distribution, recipes, educational materials and much more.
For those that look to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, food pantries and soup kitchens for their next meal, eating healthy is not something they can do on their own.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank is making strides to provide healthy food and nutrition education, making the idea of healthier, well-fed communities isn’t too far away.
Each of us can do our part to make healthier food options available to all of us. Contact the St. Louis Area Foodbank and see what you can do to help, whether it is volunteering at a distribution center or simply inquiring about efforts in your community to help create awareness about nutrition.
Together we can work towards a healthier, more nutritious future.
By Kelly Hall, RD, LD
IL School Breakfast Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank and registered dietitian.
Have you ever needed help providing food for your family? Have you received food from a food pantry? Have you ever used food stamps?
If you answered yes to any of these questions – even if your experience was years ago – we’d love to hear from you. We use these firsthand accounts to help educate the world about hunger in the St. Louis area. Hearing a personal story from a real individual who has struggled to put food on the table can be eye-opening for those who have never experienced it.
These stories help us spread hunger awareness, and encourage donors large and small to keep giving. In addition, your story can help erase the stereotypes that people associate with food pantries and food stamps. Please help us show the world that the folks in the pantry line are real, hard-working people who are doing their best to provide for their families.
It’s easy to share a thought, comment or personal story – your story is a powerful tool in fighting hunger and its root causes.
If you’re not sure what to write about, you could tell us a story about your experience with any of the following issues:
Accessing emergency food
Losing your job in this tough economy
Having trouble making ends meet
Working for wages that don’t support your family
Difficulty with medical bills
Difficulty affording rent
Being hurt by predatory banking, lending or business practices
How you’ve benefited from community food systems like farm-to-school and community garden programs
Difficulty accessing food or services where you live
Living with a disability and waiting for SSI or SSDI benefits
Challenges you’ve encountered as an Oregon or Clark County farmer
A time when cash assistance helped you get back on your feet
How you’ve benefited from SNAP (food stamps), child nutrition programs (WIC, school breakfast and lunch, summer food, etc.) or WIC/senior farmers market coupons
A memorable experience you had as an St. Louis Area Foodbank advocate or volunteer
We do not have to use your full name if we share the story, but we do need to verify the stories. For this purpose, please include in your email or message the following information: full name, city of residence, email or phone number, and name of pantry you used if applicable.
By Bethany Prange Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank