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Revolution For Good


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

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Office FUNdraising Party | Part Two


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


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


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


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 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


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 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:



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

Going In On A Gift


Have you ever “gone in on a gift” with someone?

When I was younger, my brothers and I used to “go in on gifts together” for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and holidays.

By pooling our resources, we were able to give gifts that we may not otherwise have been able to provide on our own. A couple flowers on Mother’s Day, for example, became a dozen.

Giving a shared gift offers a unique sense of shared responsibility and shared excitement. It’s sort of like being in on a cool secret.

The benefits of going in on a gift can be applied to a charitable donation.

Many employers have a Matching Gifts Program, and they will “go in on your charitable gift” with you.

For example, you might be able to turn your $50 donation to St. Louis Area Foodbank into $100. That simple effort could double the impact of your gift from 200 meals to 400 meals!

Sometimes, even the hours you spend volunteering at the Foodbank can be matched with dollars by your employer.

St. Louis Area Foodbank recently launched a new matching gifts program that enables supporters to easily research if their companies have a matching gifts program.

To see if your company matches financial donations, please visit:

To see if your company matches volunteer hours, please visit:

Patrick Delhougne is a development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Party with a Purpose – Taste of the NFL

Taste of the NFL

St. Louis Rams General Manager Les Snead signs an autograph for a young fan / Photo by Dave Preston

  When Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations for the St. Louis Rams, announced they would be hiring Les Snead as the team’s general manager, he said, “…We think with him (Snead) and Jeff (Fisher) running our football operations, we have a chance for sustained success.”*

After the 10th annual Taste of the NFL event on Monday night, I’d be willing to bet that representatives from the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the St. Louis Sports Commissionhave similar feelings.

If Snead decides to continue chairing the St. Louis Taste of the NFL, as he did this year for the first time, this event has a strong chance for sustained success, just like the Rams.

Taste of the NFL organizers could not have planned a better set of circumstances. On Sunday, the Rams played NFC West Division leaders, the San Francisco 49ers. The game ended dramatically with rookie kicker Greg Zuerlien booting a 54-yard field goal to give the Rams a 16 – 13 win in overtime.

The victory pushed the Rams to 4-0-1 within the division.  They’ve already more than doubled their win total from a year ago.

The next night at the Taste of the NFL, more than 20 Rams players showed up at the Foodbank to sign autographs, mingle with guests and sample food from St. Louis area restaurants.  When it was time to introduce them to the crowd from the stage, Snead had a funny story or special memory about each player.

Joined by his wife, former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson Snead, the couple showed good chemistry while reliving draft day stories with some of the team’s rookies and enjoying a laugh about locker room pranks pulled off by some of the veteran players.

Veteran defensive end Chris Long seemed to have involvement in the majority of the pranks.  Despite Sneads’ story-telling, Long claims to have “no idea” how 3,000 live crickets and more than 50,000 packing peanuts ended up in teammate James Laurinaitis’ vehicle after a long day of practicing.

All of this made for a great evening for those in attendance and a successful fundraiser for the St. Louis Sports Commission and the Foodbank.

In his short time with the team, Snead has earned the respect of the Rams’ players.  On Monday, that respect was very evident by the player turnout to support their general manager in his first year as event captain.

With the money raised that night, the Foodbank will be able to provide more than 140,000 meals for hungry families throughout the bi-state region.

When a family gathers around their kitchen table tonight to eat a meal prepared with food they received from the St. Louis Area Foodbank, they can thank Rams players and personnel like Cortland Finnegan, Robert Quinn and of course, Les Snead for helping to make the Taste of the NFL a resounding success – one that will hopefully be sustained for years to come.


* = Quote was orginally published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Ryan Farmer


Ryan Farmer is the communications manager for the St. Louis Area Foodbank



It’s Like The Human Fund, Only Real


Have you seen that one Seinfeld where George Costanza tells everyone he made a holiday donation in their name to The Human Fund?

If you haven’t seen it, check it out:

Of course, the deceitful trick pulled by Costanza comes back to haunt him later in the episode when his boss, Mr. Krugar, finds out The Human Fund doesn’t exist.

For those of you familiar with that infamous “Festivus” episode, I’m sure you know it’s good for some laughs.

But in reality, there are some great ways to make holiday honor donations to very worthy – and very real -causes.

This year, if you decide to forgo buying your dad yet another Christmas tie, or buying your business partner his umpteenth set of golf balls, consider making a charitable donation in their honor.

The feel-good factor of making a donation to hunger relief in our region can be far more valuable than even the coolest golf accessories.

Here’s how it works:

• In lieu of gifts, simply make a tax-deductible donation to St. Louis Area Foodbank in the name of those you wish to honor.

• For a minimum gift of $15 per letter, we will mail an acknowledgement of your gift to your list of designated honorees.

• The letter will be sent on Foodbank holiday stationary, personalized to include your company’s name and signed by our CEO.

In many professions — advertising, law, wealth management and healthcare to name just a few — a list of clients and business associates can exceed 50 to 100 names.

So how do you wish everyone a happy holiday? Sometimes, this massive gift giving can be labor-intensive and very exhausting.

Still, acknowledging clients, colleagues, vendors and associates around the holidays has become a best practice in business. It’s a way to build and strengthen relationships.

But who needs another paperweight or gift basket of jellies?

Our Holiday Honor Letter Program can be an effective solution to the gift-giving dilemma. It has four main benefits:

1. This type of gift, as opposed to others, is tax-deductible.
2. For the busy professional, this one-stop shop saves a remarkable amount of time.
3. This gift generates good public relations.
4. Lastly, your charitable donation makes a positive difference in the community. Every dollar donated yields four meals for people in need of food assistance.

Kathy Braswell with Cataract & Eye Disease Specialists Inc. summed up it perfectly:

“Every holiday season most offices receive lots of homemade goodie baskets or plants. Instead of doing the same, we decided several years ago that holiday honor letters are a wonderful way to show appreciation for the referrals we receive, while doing something good for the community.”

So, if you are looking for a way to acknowledge your professional and personal networks this upcoming holiday season, please contact Patrick Delhougne and we can start working on your gift today!

    Patrick Delhougne is a development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank