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A Few Spare Minutes to Make a Big Impact

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do.”

-       Amelia Earhart

I think most of us aspire to make a difference – either in our careers, in the lives of our loved ones, or in our community.

But life, with all its complications and commitments, often seems to stand in the way.

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Though we may have the best of intentions, we somehow never seem to find the time or energy to do all that we hope to do.

Like many of us, I often tell myself that I’ll be able to do more giving back later in my life. . .when my son is older. When my work is less busy. When I have fewer social commitments.

The trouble with “later” is that inevitably, something or someone new always appears. That hope for “later” becomes a mirage we continually chase.

What if I could do something NOW? Is there something I can do in my small snippets of free time that would still make a difference?

Right now, the St. Louis Area Foodbank needs your online vote to help us win a $60,000 grant. If we win, we will be able to provide more than 200,000 additional meals to families in need!

You can vote once a day at http://stlfoodbank.org/clickforacause. Just put MO in the search bar and vote for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Then share with your friends and family and encourage them to vote too!

Then, as we continue to celebrate Hunger Action Month, I’m happy to say that there are a myriad of additional things I – and those like me – can do.

Here’s a list of small actions that require just a few moments to achieve, but still make a big impact. You can make a difference in the lives of the 1 in 8 people in our community who struggle with hunger.

 By Bethany Prange

St. Louis Area Foodbank Social Media Specialist

Plan Your Night Out with the Girls

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Ladies, how long has it been since you’ve enjoyed a night out with your girlfriends?

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How would you like to enjoy such a night guilt-free because you are simultaneously supporting a great charity?

If your interest has been peaked, then listen up.

On Friday, May 16, 2014, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is hosting the second annual Wine, Women and Shoes. The fun happens from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Clayton.

Tickets are now on sale for this high-energy event.

Throughout the night, you can:

Sample fine wines from vintners across the country

Shop for the latest fashions in shoes, accessories and jewelry

Bid on one-of-a kind trips to Napa Valley or stock your wine cellar with great live and silent auction packages

Buy a chance to win the fabulous Keys to the Closet package worth thousands of dollars! The “Closet” contains a treasure trove of jewelry, shoes, clothing, accessories and lots of other surprises!

Discover the goodies inside your Swag Bag

Taste amazing food

Buy a surprise bag of wine from the Wall of Wine

Oh, and let’s not forget the Shoe Guys. Several hunky young men will be at your service all evening, serving up the latest in fashion footwear and wine pairings.

Wear your favorite pair of shoes and compete for prizes in the Best in Shoe contest!

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So plan now to attend with your “sole” sisters! Individual tickets and Girlfriend’s packages are on sale. Buy tickets at STLFoodbank.org or call 314-292-6262.

Also, follow and like our event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wwsstlouis to get the latest updates and check out photos from last year’s Wine Women & Shoes.

Be There! Be Fabulous!

By Jane Corpora

Grantwriter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

A Festival of Friends

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This past weekend, the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s Young Professionals Board (YPB) partnered with Moulin Events & Meetings on their sixth annual Centennial Beer Festival.

Members of the YPB, along with Foodbank staff, were there to help direct crowd traffic and promote hunger awareness. The event organizer, Jason Arnold, is a former Foodbank Board member and current partner at Moulin and its sister establishments – Vin de Set and PW Pizza.

The festival was a great introduction to events for our newly-formed and growing YPB.

In addition to a minimum contribution from the organizers, they offered a raffle in which attendees could win $500 worth of the more than 200 different festival beers on hand.

Going in, I assumed selling chancesto win beer to folks attending a beer festival wouldn’t be too tough a task. My assumption was right on – we raised more than $2,000 – but I’ll admit I was surprised at how many of the 1,400 attendees already knew about the Foodbank and how many were interested in what we do.

Hundreds stopped by the Foodbank table my wife and I staffed on Saturday and nearly everyone asked about our food supply or added some anecdotal history they had with the Foodbank.

I was also touched that so many took a pass on the raffle and just simply made a contribution to our cause. The teaming with Jason and the Centennial Beer Festival was certainly a success and one that we look forward to growing in years to come.

Everything we do as an organization has a direct goal of providing food to someone in need and this event was no exception. The $2,000 raised will help us bring in nearly $18,000 worth of food to the area.

In addition to the funds raised, this event served another purpose. The YPB has recently launched a “Friends of the Foodbank” initiative to attract those interested in small networking events that engage people in hunger relief.

Our kick-off event for the Friends group will be held at the Foodbank on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

For more information, or to attend, please visit www.stlfoodbank.org/get-involved/friends.

Cheers!

By Matt Dace

Senior Vice President at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Way To Give

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Wow St. Louis, way to give!!

Yesterday was the second annual #GivingTuesday, and you all made us proud.

St. Louisans rallied around our social media efforts yesterday and made @STLFoodbank the number two Twitter trend in our region!

Plus, the number of online gifts we received through our website yesterday more than doubled the number we received last year on #GivingTuesday!

Even better, the online funds donated yesterday through www.stlfoodbank.org was more than the amount of gifts we received in the previous four years combined on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving!

On our website alone, we received $5,020 in donations! That’s almost twice as much as last year! We’re grateful to Gamlin Whiskey House and Sub Zero Vodka Bar for offering up dinner for four people at their restaurants for anyone that made an online donation through our #GivingTuesday webpage.

Yesterday, 38 folks became first-time donors through the Foodbank website. That is very exciting!

Thanks to Chris Sommers, co-founder of Pi Pizzeria and Givver, for coming up with a terrific idea for fundraising on #GivingTuesday.

Every donor who made a #GivingTuesday donation of $10 or more to the Foodbank through Givver received a free Pi pizza!

Thanks to Pi, Chris, the Foodbank Social Media Avengers, and everyone who donated, tweeted and spread the word! And thanks to Cindy Levin for posting an #unselfie – a good deed version of the popular #selfie – of her acts of generosity on #GivingTuesday!

And a special thanks to St. Louis on the Air for hosting our Ryan Farmer in their segment on #GivingTuesday! Check it out: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-participates-givingtuesday

By Bethany Prange

Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Office FUNdraising Party | Part Three

“Car people” live for days like this…the unveiling of a new model. It’s the opportunity to be one of the first in country to sit in the seats, test out the features, and brag to your friends about the experience.

Recently, Frank Leta Acura held an event at their dealership previewing the new Acura 2014 MDX.

From 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., customers were greeted with live music, drinks, hor d’oeuvres and giveaways.

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For every 2014 MDX pre-ordered that day, Frank Leta Acura donated $1,000 to that customer’s charity of choice. The St. Louis Area Foodbank was one of 17 nonprofit organizations from which customers could choose, and we were fortunate that one customer did in fact choose us!

Management at the dealership saw the value in helping those in need and gave their customers an opportunity to help an organization by doing something they were already planning to do, order a new car.

By partnering with us on this event, Frank Leta Acura gave their customers a unique experience, drove traffic to their dealership, gave their employees a fun night, and helped serve the community at large. It was yet another great example of how creating an event or throwing a party at work benefiting the Foodbank can yield tremendous results for all parties involved.

To learn more about Frank Leta Acura, please visit their website by clicking here.

By Patrick Delhougne

Development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Hunger is No Laughing Matter 2013

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A re-enactment of a scene from the movie “The Fugitive” and chocolate covered pretzels were just some of the highlights from this year’s “Hunger Is No Laughing Matter” comedy show, presented by Sun Life Financial.

This past Saturday, nearly 1,000 people filed into the Pageant in University City for the second annual event that helps raise awareness and funds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

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Comedian John Mulaney headlined and brought an hour-long set of brand new material. As he usually is, Mulaney was smart, cutting, and a fantastic storyteller. Since moving from his hometown of Chicago, he has had no shortage of interesting encounters in New York City. He recounted a few of those interactions, mixed in some anecdotes about family road trips, his mother’s famous college classmate (Bill Clinton) and at one point re-enacted a scene from “The Fugitive,” which had numerous scenes filmed in his hometown’s own Palmer House Hilton.

One of the night’s most memorable moments came when Mulaney seemed to veer from his routine to take note of a Foodbank poster on the stage that featured a picture of young boy with a mouth full of spaghetti, remarking how the boy looked surprised to have his picture taken. He proceeded to make a few more jokes from there. I’ve walked by that poster numerous times in our hallways here at the Foodbank and I don’t I’ll ever look at the picture the same way again.

He actually started his set by taking a few light-hearted jabs at me for coming up right before him and promising the crowd chocolate covered pretzels from Mom’s Originals at the end of the night and letting everyone know that if they made a $10 donation through Givver.com, they could get a free pizza from Pi Pizzeria. “Why would anyone want to stay to listen to my jokes when Ryan has promised you all free chocolate covered pretzels and discounted pizza? Now everyone’s just waiting for me to get off the stage,” he remarked.

Throughout the night Mulaney interacted with some audience members, including a couple in the front row that he couldn’t believe had been married for 19 years. He seemed genuinely shocked and asked them what there was to do in St. Louis since his flight left at 3am and he was planning on staying up until it was time to head to Lambert. His request for suggestions elicited an all-too-familiar St. Louis response of, “go to the East Side.” John remarked that the gentleman who shouted that out seemed a little too anxious to make the remark and that the crowd member might be trying to get him killed.

Great comedians make it look effortless and that’s exactly what John did from the moment he stepped on-stage. I know everyone at the Foodbank was thankful that he was a part of the evening.

Carmen Lynch, who was hand-picked by Mulaney, was a great addition to the line-up and St. Louisan Dan Chopin kept things flowing as the evening’s emcee, which included a 15-minute set to kick things off.

The goal of the evening was to provide an affordable night out that, where attendees could learn a little more about the Foodbank and have a good time while they were doing it. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that was in attendance on Saturday that would say it accomplished anything other than that. Thank you to everyone that came out and helped make it a success.

By Ryan Farmer

Communications manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Comic On The Rise to Headline Foodbank Benefit

Hunger is No Laughing Matter

The first time I came across comedian John Mulaney was back in 2008. He was on a show called “Best Week Ever” on VH-1.

On the show, a group of comedians spent a half hour making witty comments about the happenings of pop culture in the “week that was.”

Since 2008, I’ve seen Mulaney on my TV several times – in a few appearances during the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live and on various late night talk shows.

I caught his Comedy Central special, “New In Town,” last year and felt like I was starting to hear his name more and more.

So when we were looking for a headliner for this year’s “Hunger Is No Laughing Matter” benefit for the St. Louis Area Foodbank, I immediately thought of Mulaney.  He’s a rare combination for a comedian – funny and well-known, but not too blue or risqué.

In fact, when we asked our Social Media Avengers for suggestions on comedians, Avenger Nick Sargent from Standing Partnership asked, “have you ever heard of this guy, John Mulaney?”

Nick’s suggestion validated my premise that Mulaney was a comic on the rise.

It was around that time that I discovered that John had been asked to shoot a pilot sitcom loosely based on his life for NBC.

Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame was executive producing the show and it seemed like by the time our event came around in August, Mulaney’s career would be on fire.

As it turns out, NBC decided to pass on Mulaney.

Still, a passed-over sitcom doesn’t change my belief that Mulaney is one of the most talented young comedians in the country. Clearly, I’m not alone in my opinion.

Click here to read Elise Czajkowski’s editorial about John and his show on Splitsider.com.

I encourage everyone to come see what I’m talking about on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at The Pageant. I’m positive you’ll agree that Mulaney is worth seeing in person.

The Foodbank has an internet pre-sale running through 10 p.m. Thursday June 6, 2013.  Tickets go on-sale to the public through all Ticketmaster outlets this Friday, June 7, 2013 at 10 a.m.

Here’s the link – http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/06004ABEA7B870C0The pre-sale password is: Foodbank.

Last year’s event with Mike Birbiglia and Greg Warren was a huge success for the Foodbank and we’re hoping this year’s event will be even better.

Get your tickets today!

Ryan Farmer

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

Stamping Out Hunger St. Louis Style

Diet chocolate fudge soda in a can.

Pickled quail eggs in a jar.

Sliced kiwi in a can.

Volunteering at a massive one-day food drive like Stamp Out Hunger is a sure-fire way to discover food items you may not have known existed!

Sure, we get lots and lots of pantry staples like canned veggies, macaroni and cheese, and soup. And we’re certainly grateful for every single item that is donated by our generous community.

But it’s the unusual items that delight and entertain our volunteers as they sort the food at each post office.

At the South County Post Office, volunteers were touched by the St. Louis County resident who donated a jar of spaghetti sauce neatly taped to a coordinating box of pasta.

In Kirkwood, volunteers at the post office were charmed by handwritten thank yous to letter carriers stapled to the bags of food.

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Stamp Out Hunger is an annual event that takes place across the nation on the second Saturday in May.

Here in St. Louis, this drive mobilizes not just letter carriers and post office staff, but also St. Louis Area Foodbank employees, pantry staff, community volunteers, high school students and local businesses.

Weeks before the drive, volunteers at the Foodbank neatly folded the plastic bags and attached them to the Stamp Out Hunger reminder cards. From there, we relied on the hard work of letter carriers to deliver them.

With all of our collective efforts, we collected 232,842 pounds of food last Saturday, and there’s still more food rolling in!

With the support of the generous residents of St. Louis city and county, the Foodbank has received 10,000 more pounds than we did from the 2012 drive!

Thanks to all who helped make this drive a success!

Check out photos on our Facebook page. 

 

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

 

Casey Milton
Casey Milton is the product sourcing coordinator 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.

 

Iron Fork 2013

Iron Fork raised $4,250 for the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

We are excited to announce that The Riverfront Times’ Iron Fork event was a huge succes this year and sold out! The event, held for the 7th consecutive year, benefited the St. Louis Area Foodbank and was attended by almost 2,000 people.

 

 

 

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Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!

 

Allison Jones
Allison Jones is the website and design coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.