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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.

love_Handles_bag

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_B

    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

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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

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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! http://youtu.be/sF2BIgUkO84

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:

http://fox2now.com/2012/11/19/turkey-train-helps-feed-thousands-in-st-louis-area/

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

 

Every Child Deserves a Holiday Meal

Turkey_For_Thanksgiving

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

 

One Day, Thousands of Scouts and a Huge Impact

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Food starts arriving at the St. Louis Area Foodbank during the 2011 Scouting for Food drive / Photo by Bethany Prange

 This Saturday, remember to put your bags of food donations on your porch for the boy scouts to collect during the 28th annual Scouting for Food drive with the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Scouting for Food started in 1985 in the St. Louis area. Since then, this important food drive has expanded to cities across the nation.

Last year in St. Louis city and county, Scouting for Food brought in nearly 750,000 pounds of food to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Since it began in 1985, Scouting for Food has generated more than 24 million pounds of food for our Foodbank.

To get a sense of just how big an impact this drive makes, check out this great video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWcynM3ILaw&feature=share&list=UUfzj1ybtSFRhG4FUU7o4ebg

The food collected during Scouting for Food is distributed to our network of food pantries in Missouri, covering 14 counties. The food brought in by the scouts this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, will start going out to our partner agencies just two days later on Monday, Nov. 19.

We truly appreciate every individual who makes the effort to put out donations. Without you, we couldn’t provide such a high quality of food assistance to our families in need.

If you forget to put the bags out for the Boy Scouts to collect or the scouts miss your residence, you may drop off your donations at any St. Louis-area Regions Bank location.  Find your nearest Regions Bank location here:http://www.stlbsa.org/programs/sff/Pages/Regions-Bank-Locations.aspx

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

 

Can You Lend A Can?

Lend a can

A “Lend A CAN” food drive barrel full of Del Monte products / Photo by Bethany Prange

 Looking back on my childhood, I wish I would have had more opportunities to give back to my community.

I grew up in a small town where we had one elementary school, two middle schools and one high school.  My parents went to church and I was involved in youth groups, but I can only remember one time volunteering at a pantry.  One time…in 13 years of public school.

Maybe my mind is a little foggier than I would like to admit, but I just don’t remember anyone suggesting I help out with food drives or volunteer for a cause.

Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case here in St. Louis.  Working at the Foodbank, I get to see kids from all walks of life giving back to those who are less fortunate.

Whether they’re from a school, a scout group or a church youth group, they all have one thing in common.  At an early age, they’re experiencing the joy that comes with helping those in need.

It’s an important lesson to learn, particularly when you think about the fact that children under 18 make up the largest percentage of those receiving assistance from the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

That’s what makes a food drive like the “Lend A CAN” drive so great.  It gets kids involved at an early age in the fight against hunger.

The “Lend A CAN” food drive is a collaboration between Del Monte and Shop ‘n Save that benefits the Foodbank and the 57,000 people that we serve each week.

The best part is that while schools are giving back to the community, Del Monte and Shop ‘n Save are giving back to the schools.

The school that collects the most food by the end of October will win $2,500 and five runners-up will win $1,000.  That’s money that can be put towards books, technology or any other needs.

It’s easy to sign up and it can all be done online!  Once you register, the Foodbank handles the rest of the details.  We’ll deliver logoed barrels to the school and pick them up once your drive is completed.

We will gladly accept any non-perishable food items, but if you purchase 10 Del Monte products from Shop ‘n Save and mail in your receipt, you will receive a $5 Shop ‘n Save gift card in return.

Plus, if you have a soft spot in your heart for our four-legged friends, we will also accept pet food donations that we will deliver to Five Acres Animal Shelter in St. Charles.

The most important thing is to teach our children to help others. Now you can do so by participating in the “Lend A CAN” food drive.  All the details can be found here.

Ryan Farmer

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

Working Together To Feed The Community

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Volunteers from local Save-A-Lot stores bag up corn to be distributed during a recent Mobile Market / Photo by Bethany Prange

 By the time the St. Louis Area Foodbank arrived in Moline Acres on Wednesday, a line of cars had already wound its way through a nearby parking lot.

Dozens of families in need waited patiently in those cars as Foodbank staff and volunteers from Good News Baptist Church in Jennings unloaded nearly 16,000 pounds of food.

As pallets of fresh cucumbers, onions, potatoes and carrots were unloaded into the parking lot of Gram Slam Storage, a group of volunteers from Save-A-Lot arrived to help.

For an hour, volunteers rebagged thousands of pounds of fresh produce so that each family in need could get their fair share.

Deacon Arstell Jones of Good News Baptist Church Food Pantry had alerted his pantry clients to let them know about this mobile market. The families, many with children, were anxious to accept the much-needed food.

Over the course of two hours, the Save-A-Lot and Good News Baptist Church volunteers loaded cars with bags of fresh sweet corn, sweet potatoes, grapes, meat and more. Save-A-Lot employees also handed out coupons for food in their stores.

 

By mid-afternoon, nearly 200 families had received food.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank hosts mobile markets in a different community almost every day. This program helps us distribute fresh produce, meat and veggies to people in need as quickly as possible.

The mobile market held September 19, 2012 was a particularly meaningful event. Save-A-Lot volunteers worked alongside pantry volunteers in the first of an ongoing effort from the company.

Save-A-Lot will not only be giving their employees a chance to volunteer at Foodbank events, but the company is also making a $20,000 donation to hunger relief in the bi-state region, specifically through the mobile market program at the Foodbank.

On behalf of the more than 57,100 people we serve every week, we offer our thanks to Save-A-Lot and all our volunteers.

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