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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.


Widespread Panic – Music Fans Feeding Families in Need

“Oh children from my brood they come and bring me food.”
– “Blue Indian” by Widespread Panic

The band Widespread Panic first began doing food drives at their concerts in 1999 with the fan-based organization Panic Fans for Food.

Since then, the band has been hosting food and funds drives at select shows on their tour and engaging their fans to get involved. Several fans heard about this week’s drive through Widespread Panic’s e-newsletter.

In October 2011, the fans of Widespread Panic generously donated food and funds that was the equivalent of 866 meals!

This year, fans attending the April 9 & 10, 2013 concerts donated $196.45 and 211 pounds of food to the St. Louis Area Foodbank! That will help provide 906 meals for the area’s hungry.

Everyone that made a donation was entered to win 3-D lenticular poster. Congratulations to the big winner – J. McDermott!





For more photos from the concert, please visit:


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


Country Music, General Mills & Feeding America Join Forces to Outnumber Hunger


Are products like Cheerios, Pillsbury biscuits or Yoplait yogurt on your grocery list? If so, you have the opportunity to help feed families in need for free!
Yep, for FREE!

Buy Product + Enter Code = 5 Meals

Now, when you buy a specially-marked General Mills product, you’ll see an Outnumber Hunger code on the packaging.

Simply go to and enter the code to secure 65 cents for Feeding America food banks such as the St. Louis Area Foodbank. That’s enough for Feeding America to provide five meals!

On the website, you’ll also enter your zip code, which helps determine which Feeding America food bank receives that donation. Could it be any easier to make an impact?

Plus, entering codes isn’t the only way you can help!

Sam’s Club Food Drive = Helping Families

Sam's Cub Logo

Through March 24, local Sam’s Club stores will be hosting an in-store food drive. Buy an extra box of cereal or macaroni, and drop your donation in the box to help local families.

Text HUNGER + Zip Code to 3456 = 12 Meals

If that sounds challenging, you can help out just by texting the word HUNGER + your zip code to 3456. That simple act secures an additional 12 meals for your local food bank! You won’t be charged for the donation – the only cost to you is your cell plan’s standard data/text rates!

Last year, the Outnumber Hunger program donated more than $750,000 to Feeding America and its’ member food banks, including the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

This year, General Mills will donate up to $1.3 million to Feeding America through Outnumber Hunger. And this program has some famous backers! Big Machine Label Group country recording artists are lending their voices and support including:

Watch The Band Perry speak about the campaign below:


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

Spreading the Love – Love Handles Food Drive

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so that means love must be in the air!

Soon we’ll be feverishly buying cards, candies and flowers for those we love most.

But what if we could share the love with local families in need?

Fortunately, there’s an easy way.

Shop ‘n Save just launched their Love Handles Food Drive. Now through March 2, 2013, you can stop by any St. Louis area Shop ‘n Save location and share a little love by purchasing a $5 bag of food donations.


Each pre-packaged Love Handles bag contains:

  • 14 oz. Essential Everyday Toasted O’s
  • 4 pack of chocolate pudding
  • 5.6 oz. box of beef pasta mix
  • Two cans of chunk light tuna

This may not sound like a feast, but for a family in need, these nutritious items can mean the difference between having a meal and going to bed hungry.

Shop ‘n Save is partnering with radio stations 106.5 the Arch101 ESPN Radio and 92.3 WILto make this food drive a huge success.

Last year, St. Louisans generously donated almost 5,000 Love Handles bags to the St. Louis Area Foodbank and local food pantries. This year, Shop ‘n Save and their partners hope to donate more than 10,000 bags!

You can help make it happen! The next time you’re in Shop ‘n Save, look for the Love Handles display. Grab a bag and pay $5 at the register. The donated food goes straight to those who need it most.

How else can $5 make such a big impact!

Click here to find the Shop n’ Save location near you.

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

Virtually Easy – A Few Clicks To Donate

Virtual Food Drive

These days, most life tasks can be conducted online.

With a few clicks of the mouse, one can easily pay the bills, book a dream vacation, support a favorite charity, and even shop for clothes.

We can do virtually anything online – pun intended!

Thanks to the creation of the virtual food drive, you can even hold a food drive online.

Now, instead of trying to remember to stop at the grocery store to pick up your donations, you can simply browse the “virtual grocery store.”

You’ll navigate a virtual shopper through the store, dropping items in the cart. It’s almost like playing a game!

As you shop, the computer tabulates your total donation. When you’re ready to check out, you simply pay the “grocery total” as your donation to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

The funds donated through your virtual food drive come directly to the Foodbank to purchase food items to help feed the more than 57,000 individuals who rely on us for assistance each week.

You get to donate food right to those who need it! Best of all, there’s no waiting in grocery store lines, lifting cases of food, or trying to remember to bring in your canned goods!

If you’d like to organize a virtual food drive with your friends, family or colleagues, you can contact our food drive coordinator, Casey Milton. She’ll provide you with a personalized URL link for your virtual food drive.

For more information or to get your virtual food drive started please visit our website.

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

Casey Milton is the product donation coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank


Peanut Butter: A Donation That Sticks

Peanut Butter Donations

Did you eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid? I sure did. Peanut butter was a staple in our house, and we often went through several jars in a week. I remember loving Annette Funicello in the commercials for Skippy, trading sandwiches at school based upon jelly flavors and my mom handing me a slice of peanut butter bread when she needed some quiet time.

As an adult, I’ve lost my taste for peanut butter, but I can’t deny its nutritional value. Peanut butter is packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals, and it’s surely the food that inspired the phrase “sticks to your ribs.” Mom really did know best when she suggested the sticky stuff for a meal or snack.

That’s why the St. Louis Area Foodbank includes peanut butter on its list of “Best Items to Donate.” No matter if it’s creamy or loaded with nuts, peanut butter offers Foodbank clients some of the easiest and tastiest nutrition possible for just a few dollars a jar. And those who consume peanut butter stay full longer — something that’s so important to Foodbank families.

In honor of National Peanut Butter Day on Jan. 24, will you consider donating a few jars to the St. Louis Area Foodbank? You can drop items off at the Foodbank headquarters or at a number of area food drives and collection sites. Even better, why not gather your friends, coworkers or interest group for a virtual food drive? Through an interactive game, your group can “shop” for peanut butter and other nutritious foods online when it’s convenient and send funds directly to the Foodbank, whose staff then picks up your chosen items at area stores and distributes them to clients in need.

I definitely plan to support the St. Louis Area Foodbank on National Peanut Butter Day. Good nutrition and hearts drawn on sandwiches are both worthwhile things, in my book.


    Allison Babka is a freelance writer, “Riverfront Times” columnist, karaoke host and St. Louis Area Foodbank #SocialMediaAvenger. Follow her on Twitter at@ambabka.

Rally Saint Louis Announces First Santa Razor Race To Fight Hunger

Rally Saint Louis Announces First Santa Razor Race To Fight Hunger

Need yet another reason to Rally for St. Louis?

Let’s remember there are seminal moments in St. Louis history:  the Arch is built, the first BLT at Crown Candy Kitchen is served, the Rams come to town, and of course, the greatest pre-holiday scooter race between two Santa Claus’ in the history of pre-holiday scooter races between multiple Santa Claus’ is one of them.

Thus, the efficiently named Rally Saint Louis’ Reason for the Season Rabble-Rousers Santa Razor Race Round Downtown To Fight Hunger (and working on Friday afternoons) will kickoff at high noon on December 21 at the corner of 10th Street & Washington Avenue and proceed with lightening speed through  downtown St. Louis, ending in front of Mango on 11th Street & Lucas Avenue.

Along the way, it’s the holiday time and there are many St. Louisans in need, so we’ll be collecting canned food items for the St. Louis Area Foodbank, as well as spreading good cheer, and periodically delivering roundhouse kicks to unruly rabblerousers.

If you are interested in racing you need two things: a kickin’ scooter and a mind-melting holiday costume!

Route details are below – sign up to attend on Facebook here – but whatever you do be sure to join us for a prompt start at noon on December 21 at the corner of 10th & Washington!

Rally Saint Louis Announces First Santa Razor Race To Fight Hunger

Aaron Perlut is Managing Partner & Chief Nuclear Mustache Grooming Specialist at Elasticity

Music To Our Ears


Patrick Delhougne accepts a check on behalf of the St. Louis Area Foodbank from Sammy Hagar / Photo by Ryan Farmer

 Remember When Bob Dylan Made a Christmas Album?

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes  Santa Claus, right down memory lane. . .

Ah, yes. With the holidays comes all those great songs we have loved since childhood.

Winter Wonderland, Here Comes Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, Must Be Santa and so on.

A long list of musical artists have covered or created holiday music in the last century. On that list is the great Bob Dylan.

In 2009, Dylan released an album called Christmas at Heart, with proceeds benefitting hunger relief charities all over the world.


That got me thinking about the ways that musicians have supported important causes. I wondered what other musical artists have supported hunger relief.

So, I casually started a list. It’s certainly not comprehensive nor is the list subject to one particular musical style.

Artists have encouraged fans to bring non-perishable items to concerts, donated a portion of proceeds from album sales, or served on entertainment councils.  Check out the diverse group of artists who have supported hunger relief:

• Bob Dylan
• Bruce Springsteen
• Tom Waits
• Chickenfoot
• Rough Shop
• Widespread Panic
• Bryan Greenberg
• Bon Jovi
• Tim McGraw
• Metallica
• Kenny Rodgers
• Willie Nelson
• Brad Paisley
• Miranda Lambert
• Lady Antebellum
• Zac Brown Band
• Toby Keith
• Jason Aldean
• The Urge
• Kenny Chesney
• Def Leppard
• Sugarland
• Sara Bareilles
• Toby Keith
• Rascal Flats
• Reba McEntire
• Martina McBride
• The Band Perry
• Eli Young Band
• Justin Moore
• Brantley Gilbert
• Sunny Sweeney
• Eden’s Edge
• Ella Mae Bowen
• Thomas Rhett
• 50 Cent
• Sheryl Crow
• Spencer Day
• Josh Groban
• Ben Harper
• Kimberly Locke
• Ludacris
• Jay Sean
• Katharine McPhee
• Onerepublic
• Benji & Joel Madden
• Phil Vassar
• Kellie Pickler

Even local musicians and bands jump at the chance to give back to the community.

Just this weekend, for instance, three locals bands – Million Hits, Lunar Levitation and Four Feet Skyscraper – will be performing at Cicero’s in St. Louis. The bands are asking everyone attending their Saturday concert to bring canned goods for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Someone once said that music could heal the world. Judging by the generosity of musicians in and around St. Louis, it seems that just might be true.

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

Pass The Turkey


Students at MICDS pass turkeys across their campus to donate to the St. Louis Area Foodbank / Photo by Bethany Prange

 When these kids say “pass the turkey”, it is no joke!

For the ninth year in a row, students at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) spent a chilly November morning passing frozen turkeys.

And no, they weren’t prepping for the world’s largest Thanksgiving dinner!

Since 2004, students and faculty at the Upper and Middle schools have been bringing in turkeys to donate to families in need.


Then, just before Thanksgiving, more than 600 students from the Upper School form a line stretching from one end of the campus to the other, passing donated frozen turkeys from student to student.

At the end of the line, St. Louis Area Foodbank staff load the poultry into our trucks. Before the end of the week, the Foodbank gives these turkeys out to our agencies who distribute the birds to families in need throughout the bi-state region.

This “Turkey Train” is not only great fun for the kids, but it lets them see firsthand the significant impact their donations can make.

See the Turkey Train first hand in this video from MICDS!

This year, MICDS students donated 7,751 pounds of turkey! Plus, the students in the Lower School donated more than 2,500 pounds of canned goods to go with the birds!

Altogether, the entire MICDS campus – more than 1,200 kids – donated 8,278 meals to families in need this holiday season!

The MICDS event represents one of the largest donations of food items to the St. Louis Food Bank at Thanksgiving.

“The Turkey Train was launched to provide a meaningful community service activity and experience that truly makes a difference for area families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday season,” says David Nowak, MICDS director of communications.

Watch great coverage of the Turkey Train from Fox 2 Now and Paul Schankman:

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


Every Child Deserves a Holiday Meal


On Thanksgiving and Christmas, my parents always took my brother and me to my grandparents’ house for a big family meal with my aunts and cousins.

Looking back, I suppose I took those holiday gatherings for granted. I always knew that giant spread of food would be there.

I was fortunate in that every year, my family could provide a large turkey or ham, complete with the side dishes that were a tradition in our family – stuffing, sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows melted on top, and homemade mashed potatoes.

For so many children in the families served by the St. Louis Area Foodbank, there is no guaranteed holiday meal. These children cannot be sure there will be enough food in the house on a daily basis, and holidays are no exception.

As the holidays roll around, we here at the Foodbank do what we can to ensure that at the very least, families in need have a good meal. We distribute holiday chickens to as many families as possible, and try to provide the foods that help make a traditional holiday meal.

At this time of year, many of us wonder what we can do to help our fellow man. We welcome volunteers here at the Foodbank five days a week, and encourage anyone who wants to help to host a food drive.

If you’re looking for a way to feed families in need, here are some suggested items that are great to donate around the holidays. After all, every child deserves a holiday full of good memories.

• Boxed stuffing
• Macaroni and cheese
• Canned vegetables such as green beans, carrots and yams
• Pie fillings
• Pie crusts – nonrefrigerated
• Canned meats like chicken or tuna
• Canned gravy
• Boxed mashed potatoes
• Boxed scalloped potatoes
• Rice mixes
• Cookie mixes
• Bread
• Muffin mixes

If a family or individual wants to donate a fresh or frozen turkey or ham, or other perishable items, the Foodbank will accept them here at our facility at 70 Corporate Woods Drive in Bridgeton. From here, they will be distributed to families in need.

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

    Casey Milton is the product donations coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank