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Everyone Deserves a Treat

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“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”

Lucy Van Pelt

In Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

The St. Louis Area Foodbank distributed more than 34 million pounds of product this past fiscal year.

Eighty-eight percent of those pounds were nutritional foods – think meats, dairy, fruits and veggies.

So then, what the heck is in that last four million pounds?

In addition to the nutritional food we receive, we also bring in donations that include health and beauty products, household items, snacks and desserts.

Though we obviously prefer the healthier, high-nutrition foods, we know that struggling families need shampoo and paper towels, just like the rest of us.

Procuring candy donations isn’t a high priority for us. But we do believe that every person, regardless of their socio-economic status, deserves to treat themselves.

I can speak from personal experience when I say that a cookie or sweet after a healthy meal hits the spot!

What kind of birthday would a kid have without a birthday cake? How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day without a little chocolate or candy hearts?

The St. Louis Area Foodbank receives candy and desserts from our retail partners whenever the items are close to the best-by date.

We tend to get big donations of candy after all major holidays. We get a variety – holiday-themed candy considered unsellable by our stores, candy with misprinted packaging, or a new flavor that wasn’t a big seller.

We are fortunate to have The Hershey Company as a partner of Feeding America and its member food banks.

In fiscal year 2013, the Foodbank received 70,000 pounds from Hershey. So far this year, we have received nearly 14,000 pounds of goods from Hershey. The items we receive from Hershey generally come directly from their Midwest Distribution Center in Edwardsville, Ill.

As a Foodbank, we are glad to accept these items and distribute them to our agencies in a timely manner, instead of seeing them thrown away.

Giving someone the ability to receive such a special treat for Valentine’s Day is truly rewarding. We may not be that person’s “Valentine” per se, but surely we hope to have brightened their day when they are handed a chocolate sweet.

This Valentine’s Day, consider skipping the giant box of chocolate and buying a smaller one. With the extra money, donate to help us share a little love with families in need.

By Shannon O’Connor

Product Sourcing Manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Share the Love

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Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day changes meaning as we age.

In grade school, you probably exchanged candy with classmates. Maybe those little chalky hearts that say “Be Mine.”

Teachers probably encouraged you to design and color a card for your parents or grandparents.

Later in adolescence, you may have begun to question the validity of the holiday. Perhaps you even protested against celebrating it.

This rite of passage usually ends with a return to celebrating the holiday, particularly by the time you’re old enough to have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The longevity of the holiday can be verified by the Greeting Card Association, who claims that 145 million greeting cards are bought for Valentine’s Day each year in the United States.

That means two cards are given to every five people in the United States!

No matter what your age, Valentine’s Day is about showing your love for someone else. Maybe you show your love with greeting cards, candies, flowers or dinners. Or maybe you even offer a “free” gesture of love like doing the dishes or giving a foot rub.

You can also show your love on Valentine’s Day by loving your community. Open your heart to those less fortunate, and please consider making a secure, online gift to the St. Louis Area Foodbank in honor of a loved one.

For the price of one $3 greeting card, we can provide 12 meals to your neighbors in need of a little extra love.

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

Local Whole Foods Markets Help Feed 160,000 More

Before she took a job at Whole Foods Market in August 2012, Lisa Frumhoff struggled to make ends meet as a self-employed real estate agent.

In 2009, the Mizzou grad and University City native found herself in need of food assistance.

“Jewish Family & Children Services was there to help me through those times,” Frumhoff said. “The food pantry at JFCS was always packed back then with all kinds of people.  I was delighted to find out last week that the St. Louis Area Foodbank provides food to JFCS.”

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Now, in her role as a customer service team member and personal shopper at Whole Foods Market – Galleria in Brentwood, Frumhoff found herself in a position to help others in need.

During the Whole Foods Market’s “Feed 4 More” program, Frumhoff joined cashiers from across the Midwest in asking customers if they’d like to donate to local hunger relief efforts.

By the time Feed 4 More ended in December, Frumhoff had collected more donations from customers than any other cashier in the 45 stores in the Midwest Region.

She alone raised a whopping $7,003 for the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

The two local Whole Foods Market locations – Galleria and Town & Country – raised a total of $40,331.59 for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

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Since the Foodbank can provide four meals with every dollar donated to the organization, the “Feed 4 More” program helped provide more than 160,000 meals for hungry families in our region.

The Midwest region overall raised an amazing $650,000 for hunger relief charities.

Frumhoff and Whole Foods Market representatives visited the St. Louis Area Foodbank on January 16. After their tour, Frumhoff said seeing the fruits of her labor was “truly one of my top five magical moments.”

“For the first time since our fundraising efforts, I truly got the impact of my efforts, the impact of our efforts, and all the generous customers,” Frumhoff said.

In November and December, Frumhoff and her counterparts across the region asked each customer if they’d like to donate to local hunger relief.

“I’d say ‘we’re raising money for the St. Louis food bank and every $5 feeds a family of four for the day,’” Frumhoff said.

Whole Foods Market reps say their customers were incredibly receptive.

“I feel blessed to have been in a position to make such a difference, just by asking people and giving them the choice,” Frumhoff said. “I asked at least 95% of the people who came through my line.”

Frumhoff says that the Feed 4 More program has made her realize the value of fundraising for a good cause.

“I’ve discovered my passion for fundraising and helping feed the hungry,” Frumhoff says.

She set a personal goal to raise $7,000. In the end, she surpassed her goal by $3.

“When I was fundraising for the last two months, I often shared my story of using the food pantries, myself,” Frumhoff said. “My desire to raise as much as possible came from a deep desire to have healthier food offered in food pantries. I know it costs more, because I spend any money I can, leftover from bills, to pay more for healthier food.”

Frumhoff has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She says her education and career history make it easy for her to relate to the thousands of individuals who work hard, but still have trouble providing food for their families.

After touring the Foodbank and seeing firsthand the volume of food we distribute, Frumhoff said, “down to my bones, I’ve been profoundly moved, touched and inspired.”

Thanks to Frumhoff and all the team members at the Whole Foods Market – Galleria location, they raised the fourth most funds among all the participating stores in the Midwest region during the Feed 4 More campaign.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank is grateful to Frumhoff and all the staff and customers at both our local Whole Foods Markets for their dedication to hunger relief.


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By Bethany Prange

Communications Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

Revolution For Good

Companion

Companion has decided to partner with the St. Louis Area Foodbank for their 20th anniversary. I sat down with Josh Allen to talk about the bread revolution and his commitment to the St. Louis community.

Josh, you kind of grew up in the food industry, right?

Yes, my family ran a regional wholesale food distribution business in St. Louis for over 100 years.

What can you tells us about the open house on Saturday, November 9?

We’re so appreciative of the support that the St. Louis community has shown us since we pulled our first baguettes from our stone ovens in South City in 1993, that we thought the least we could do was have a bit of an anniversary celebration. The Open House is our way of saying thanks. We’ll have plenty of bread and pastries, chef demonstrations, kids’ activities, music, ice carving, factory tours and samples from other St. Louis area micro-producers.

What is your favorite Companion product to make?

Every weekend we make a special over-sized, naturally leavened country bread called Miche. It is truly the essence of bread making of simply flour, water, sea salt and lots of TIME. It makes me the most happy to pull these big large loaves out of the oven.

What exactly is the Early Bird Outlet?

The EBO is our retail factory store that is open every Friday through Sunday from 7 AM to Noon. We produce nearly 15,000 lbs of bread and pastry each weekend day, so we thought we would make a bit extra and have it available to the public. It’s sort of a pop-up bakery each week in that we transform our loading dock, after our last truck has left the building,  into the Outlet.

Everything is on wheels and it all just rolls into place. Since we don’t have the same costs built into these products as we do when we have to pack and deliver around town, we pass the savings onto the folks who venture down to see us. All of the bread is sold for $2.50/lb. regardless of the variety which represents up to 50 percent savings on what you might find elsewhere.

Speaking of Birds, Chris Carpenter is not just a legendary St. Louis Cardinal. He’s also a Bread Revolutionary. Tell me about the bread revolution.

We wanted to create a campaign this year that took us back to our roots in simply making great bread. Our business has grown in a lot of different directions – two cafes, the EBO, frozen distribution, dipping oils, chocolates, jams – but at our core, we just bread bakers. The Revolutionary campaign was a way for us to remind ourselves and St. Louis about that. Aaron Segall of Ceregraphic deserves the credit. He’s been with us over 15 years helping define and design our look.

As a local business owner, how do you think supporting organizations like the St. Louis Area Foodbank has impacted your business?

We operate our business around what we call Taking Care of the 4C’s “Our Companions, Our Customers, Our Company and Our Community.” The entire St. Louis hospitality industry is full of the most amazing, caring, generous people. Three or four times a month, we participate in a wide variety of events in support of the community. It is truly who and what we are. We have been blessed by this community to still be able to bake bread daily. Giving back is what it’s all about.

What prompted you to partner with the St. Louis Area Foodbank for Companion’s 20th anniversary?

We wanted to partner with an organization that is not only committed to St. Louis and involved daily with the food industry but also one that continues to make a difference in the lives of those in need of food assistance.

We are committed to being able to give at least 20,000 meals!

(1) Companion - Cover Photos

For details on their open house go to http://www.companionstl.com/20th-anniversary-open-house/

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Office FUNdraising Party | Part Two

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On July 19, Missouri Employers Mutual (MEM) again chose the St. Louis Area Foodbank to benefit from their annual workplace fundraiser. The theme this year was “Christmas in July” and the office planning committee really went the extra mile with decorations and other finishing touches.

They served a classic holiday turkey dinner with all the trimmings. They even had pumpkin pie. This all went down on a day when the heat index in St. Louis was 100 degrees!

Since this year’s event also included a food drive, I was joined by Product Donations Coordinator Casey Milton. We were given an opportunity to outline how the Foodbank feeds hungry people in our community and how their support helps us provide more meals for our neighbors in need.

To raise cash donations, employees solicited prizes from MEM clients and other area businesses. Those prizes were raffled off. The most coveted items included four iPads and a stocked wine refrigerator. Employees could also purchase bingo cards, because who doesn’t love a game of bingo?

Finally, they held an ugly Christmas sweater contest. It takes a really competitive spirit to wear a sweater in 100 degree weather, but the winner of the contest was up to the challenge. She was rewarded with a $100 gift card!

Proceeds from all activities will be donated to the Foodbank.

Everyone had a great time. The real difficulty was returning to work after the turkey tryptophan began to kick in!

By Jane Corpora

Grantwriter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Office FUNdraising Party | Part One

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Niki Baker is the VP of business development at Rabo AgriFinance, an agricultural lending company located in St. Louis County. She helped organize a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event at their office on July 12.

Around 2:00 p.m., the office began flocking to the CSR Fair. The event was an opportunity for co-workers to socialize and give back to the community. Each department created a themed raffle item for the event.

There was also a $5 entry fee to get into the CSR Fair. Rabo AgriFinance matched (dollar for dollar) all donations received from employees. Funds raised benefited the St. Louis Area Foodbank and St. Patrick Center.

Furthermore, Niki invited me to speak at the CSR Fair about our work in the community. At the podium, I closed by praising their event. It was well-planned, well-executed and mutually beneficial for both organizations.

A couple weeks later, I returned to Rabo AgriFinance to receive a check from CEO Neil Dobbin and the staff for $4,000!

The CSR Fair and the check presentation were both on Friday afternoons. The events provided a great way to start the weekend, both for the employees of Rabo AgriFinance and those served by the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Food Straight From the Farm to Your Front Door

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Have you looked inside your refrigerator lately and noticed it was a bit empty because you haven’t had time to grocery shop?

If pushing a cart through the grocery store to stock up the fridge seems like just another overwhelming task in your busy week, we have an alternative solution.

If you live in the bi-state region, Green B.E.A.N (Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture, Nutrition) Delivery – Missouri will bring healthy food right to your door.

The idea behind this form of fresh product distribution began in 2007 in Indiana, according to Evan Winkler, purchasing manager for Green B.E.A.N Delivery – Missouri.

The owners of Green B.E.A.N Delivery were eager to network with local farmers to build a food system based on enjoying local, fresh food and encouraging economic growth.

The success of their locations in Indiana led to openings in Ohio, Kentucky and the St. Louis metro area.  Since it opened in February, the St. Louis-area location has already grown to nearly 600 orders per week.  Green B.E.A.N will deliver to any area within a 30-35 mile radius of their O’Fallon, Mo., facility. Check out their service area map ❯

The St. Louis Area Foodbank had the pleasure of being introduced to Green B.E.A.N Delivery – Missouri in early February.  In celebration of their O’Fallon location grand opening, a truck delivered nearly 3,000 pounds of assorted produce to our warehouse.

The Foodbank later created a more committed partnership with Green B.E.A.N.  For the last four months, the Foodbank has received loads of produce items that are not used for customer orders.

Every Monday morning, a Foodbank driver makes a stop at the O’Fallon location to retrieve any food that was not used for orders the week prior.  The boxes we receive are filled with produce and natural grocery items that are in need of immediate consumption.

Once we bring the product back to our warehouse, we distribute the food directly to an agency that operates a weekly youth program.  With the 300-400 pounds of food Green B.E.A.N. donates each week, the Foodbank is able to provide roughly 300 nutritious meals to children who may not otherwise have access to healthy and fresh foods.

We look forward to a continuing partnership with Green B.E.A.N Delivery – Missouri, especially as we head into the peak of the summer growing season!

To learn more about the Green B.E.A.N services, their partnered farmers, and how they provide community outreach, please visit www.greenbeandelivery.com.

 

Shannon O’Connor
Shannon O’Connor is the Distribution Manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

 

Bikers for Backpacks – Braving the Storm for Kids in Need

As I woke up on Saturday, April 27, 2013, the first thing I did was check outside to see what Mother Nature had given us to work with…

If you remember last Saturday, you’ll understand why I was a little saddened by the gloomy rain.

But then I remembered that the biker community is all about helping children and our veterans. I knew right away that even rainy weather wouldn’t stop the 2nd Annual Bikers for Backs from being a day of sharing and giving back.

I felt moved and blessed as I watched people ride through the rainy parking lot at Shirley’s that morning. While all but one person – John Snyder – left their bikes at home and chose to drive cars due to the rain, each person still carried a colorful backpack filled with kid-friendly food.

At our first stop alone, we collected roughly 50 backpacks and other bags of food. We also sold about 25 t-shirts before we headed out for our next stop.

When we arrived at our second stop, I began laying out the Bikers for Backpacks t-shirts.  One gentleman in a Marines Corps vest stopped by the table and said he couldn’t buy a shirt because it wasn’t made by a union worker.

A good friend of mine and ex-Marine, Kel Jensen, overheard the exchange. She walked right over, bought the man a shirt and took it to his table.

Kel explained that the $15 dollar shirt paid for 60 meals for hungry kids. She then pointed over to two tables filled with bikers and said, “‘they are also Teamsters so take your shirt off and put this on!’”

Thanks to Kel, the man walked around the whole time we were there wearing the Bikers for Backpacks shirt!

We shared our third stop location with another charity ride – BAA Bikers against Autism. Due to all the rain, their original last stop of the day in Grafton was under water.

Members of our ride even bid on some of their auction items.

My friend John Snyder grabbed the microphone and explained to everyone in the room how we all came together and shared our day to help out children in need.

The lead singer of the band performing at our stop bought a Bikers for Backpacks t-shirt for $100!

By the end of the day, we had collected $1,373 in cash donations, 63 backpacks and 695 pounds of kid-friendly food.

All in all it was a great event with or without Mother Nature being on our side! Thanks to everyone who weathered the storm. We’ll see you next year!

We would like to thank Wristbands.net for their generous donation of custom wristbands for Bikers for Backpacks!

And a special thank you to the following individuals who helped make this a great day – John Snyder, Sarah Jenner, Cindy Jenner, Mary Givens, Pat Delhougne, Gail Chadwick, Carol Gabriel, Denise Daugherty and Tracy and Jerry Ripley with Ride Hard Magazine.

Trisha Jenner
Trisha Jenner is the Receiving Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

34,500 Fresh Eggs – An Eggceptional Donation

EGGS

When I was a kid, I spent half of my time on a family farm.

Nearly every morning, I would walk out to the chicken coop with my bucket in tow.  I’d carefully reach into the straw and pull out the brown eggs the hens laid the day before.

On a farm with chickens, fresh eggs are abundant.

At Easter, we’d have dozens of hard-boiled eggs to dye and decorate. If we wanted to bake a cake, we had the eggs to make the batter. If we wanted scrambled eggs for breakfast, sure, no problem.

In fact, it wasn’t until I was a city-dwelling adult that I realized just how many savory dishes and desserts require fresh eggs.  By that point, I no longer had access to the “free” eggs from the coop.

These days, if I want eggs in my fridge, I have to buy them at the store. I seldom remember to put them on the grocery list, so on many a night, I find myself knocking on a neighbor’s door, hoping to borrow an egg so I can finish supper.

Fortunately for clients of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, they won’t need to buy or borrow eggs for quite awhile.

Today, Rose Acre Farms of St. Louis donated 34,500 eggs to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. For families in need, eggs are a sought-after commodity.

Not only are they a required ingredient for many meals, but eggs on their own are a source of high-quality protein and other vital nutrients.

According to the USDA, one large egg delivers six grams of protein and 13 essential nutrients such as choline, folate, iron and zinc. Additionally, the USDA concluded in 2011 that the average amount of cholesterol was 14 percent lower and vitamin D content was 64 percent higher than previously thought.

In the bi-state region, one in eight adults struggles with food insecurity. For children, the statistics are even more daunting – one in four children in the Foodbank’s 26-county service territory deal with hunger on a regular basis.

“Rose Acre is a fifth-generation family business, and we take pride in giving back to our local community,” stated Bob Niewedde, inventory control director of Rose Acre Farms.

For six years, the United Egg Producers have been organizing a nationwide effort to give food insecure families a helping hand.

U. S. egg farmers are donating nearly nine million fresh eggs this year, bringing the total number of fresh eggs donated by egg farmers since 2008 to 69 million.

Consumers can participate in the nationwide effort by going towww.facebook.com/UEPCertified and pledging to buy UEP-certified eggs. For every pledge received, United Egg Producers will donate one carton of eggs to a local food assistance organization.

 

Bethany Prange
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

 

Schnucks Escrip Card

 
Schnucks Escripts Card

Last March, I challenged our blog readers to help support the St. Louis Area Foodbank by getting involved in the Schnucks eScrip program. Since that time, we have seen eScrip donations nearly double!

To the folks already using their eScrip cards – a big thank you! During 2012, your eScrip donations provided over 3,000 meals for your neighbors in need!

The best thing about eScrip is that it allows you to help make a difference at absolutely no cost to you. If you are curious about the program, here are the easy three-step instructions:

  1. 1. Pick up your eScrip card at any Schnucks Customer Service Counter or get your eScrip card at the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Just ask Mary, our friendly Foodbank receptionist!
  2. 2. Follow the easy steps to activate the card (this step is particularly important because if too many of the cards issued to the Foodbank fail to be activated, we will not be eligible to receive additional cards).
  3. 3. Lastly, when you shop at any Schnucks market, present your eScrip card to the cashier before he or she totals your order.

To those not yet in possession of this valuable card – I ask why not? You need to shop anyway – so why not turn a weekly ‘have to’ into a warm and fuzzy moment by knowing you made a difference in the lives of those in need?

For more information, visit: www.escrip.com/program/about.jsp

 

 

Bethany Prange
Jane Corpora is the Grant Writer at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.