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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

Feed Ferguson Update

It has been amazing to see the work being done in the Ferguson community to make sure that kids and families that are in need of food assistance are getting the help they need.

We were thrilled to see that the Ferguson-Florissant school district made the decision to provide lunch for students this week. Learn more on KSDK

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Community Resource Drop-In Center

At the Foodbank, we have been concentrating our efforts on providing food assistance to the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ Community Resource Drop-In Center at the Dellwood Recreation Center (10266 W. Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63136). To date, we have delivered more than 14,000 pounds of food to be distributed to kids and families affected by the unrest in Ferguson.

On Saturday, August 23 and into the early part of the next week, we are using our Foodbank trucks to pick up donations of food, personal care items, school supplies and cleaning supplies from area businesses that will be delivered directly to the Community Resource Drop-In Center.


Feed the Students of Ferguson

On Monday, August 25 we are scheduled to receive the first shipment of cereal that will be distributed among our partner agencies that serve Ferguson and the surrounding communities.

More food should be arriving later in the week. Using the funds raised by the Feed the Students of Ferguson Fundly campaign, we will be providing more food to help ensure that students in the Ferguson/Florissant school district and their families will not have to choose between paying for food and other basic necessities as the town rebuilds and recovers.

Stay Involved

The Fundly campaign has ended, but if you would like to contribute to the Ferguson Fund, please visit the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ page:
http://www.stl.unitedway.org/helpingferguson/

If you would like to support the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s mission of feeding hungry people throughout the bi-state region, please visit our donation page:
http://stlfoodbank.org/donate/

If you would like the donation to go specifically to our efforts in Ferguson and the surrounding areas of North St. Louis County, please put “Ferguson” in the comments section.

 

Read our first update on helping Ferguson

Helping Ferguson

The St. Louis Area Foodbank has served the St. Louis community for nearly 40 years and will continue to do so as long as there is a need for food assistance.



Immediate Response to Ferguson

On Saturday, the St. Louis Area Foodbank partnered with the United Way of the Greater St. Louis to deliver 5,000 pounds of food to the Dellwood Community Center to help feed people in need in the Ferguson community.

This food was product the Foodbank had previously collected in food drives and is not associated with the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign.




“Feed the Students of Ferguson” Fundly Campaign

At this time, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is the planned recipient of the money raised by the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign.

The campaign, created by North Carolina school teacher Julianna Mendelsohn, has raised more than $80,000 so far. The campaign will end Thursday.

The outpouring of support from across the country has been overwhelming. The funds donated through the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign have been earmarked for the Ferguson community, where children in need will continue to struggle with hunger long after the news cameras leave.

Have you received the funds from the Feed the Students of Ferguson campaign?

We had not yet received the funds as of noon today, August 20, 2014. After a discussion with the management of Fundly, we agreed that the funds raised would be transferred to the St. Louis Area Foodbank starting Thursday, August 21, 2014.

What will you do with the money?

Our goal is to provide a sustainable, long-term hunger relief program for the children of the Ferguson community. We have five partner food pantries in and around Ferguson who have been providing food to families in the community during this difficult time. These pantries serve the Ferguson community year-round, a hunger relief mission that the Foodbank will continue to support in any way we can.

As we look to the future, the Foodbank will implement a specific long-term plan for feeding children in need in Ferguson and provide a full financial accounting on the use of the campaign funds donated.

How long does the campaign run?

At this time, we plan to stop taking donations via the Fundly campaign, Feed the Students of Ferguson, on Thursday, August 21, 2014.




Future Recovery Efforts

The recovery effort in Ferguson will take time and the combined efforts of organizations and individuals in the St. Louis region. Our goal is to provide a steady supply of food to those in need in the Ferguson community for months to come.



How to Help

Anyone interested in supporting the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s efforts to feed hungry people can make a donation through the “Feed the Students of Ferguson” campaign https://fundly.com/feed-the-students-of-ferguson or make a donation at www.stlfoodbank.org and put “Ferguson” in the comments section.

For those looking for other ways to help the people of Ferguson please contact the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Jeans BeCause – The Daniel & Henry Co. Gives Back

Every month, The Daniel & Henry Co. makes a donation to one of our non-profit clients. In July, we chose the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

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To encourage our employees and brokers to take part, we started the Jeans BeCause – Daniel and Henry Cares program.

When an employee makes a donation to the charity, they earn the chance to wear jeans to work once a month.

Don Hiemenz and Wes Mellow, the executives who nominated the Foodbank, matched the employee contributions dollar-for-dollar.
Read more

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

It All Adds Up

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I’m fat.Technically, I’m probably considered obese.
I don’t say this because I’m fishing for the obligatory “no you’re not.”I say this because, well, it’s true.

I gained more than 100 pounds during the nine months of my pregnancy. And since my son’s birth in August 2013, I’ve only managed to lose about 30 of those pounds.

I share these intimate details because it occurs to me that there is a misconception in our country about obesity.

Common sense would dictate that a country full of obese individuals could not also simultaneously be a country full of hungry people.

Recent studies have shown that yes, obese people can still be the same people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. They struggle to buy and eat foods that fulfill their nutritional requirements.

I realize this fact is counterintuitive.

It would seem rational to assume that someone who is overweight obviously isn’t having trouble finding food to eat.

But here’s the skinny – pardon the pun.

I myself have a real problem with eating the wrong foods for the wrong reasons.

If I’m stressed out, upset or emotional, my instinctive reaction is to reach for a comfort food, whether it is French fries, macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes.

We are a culture of food, so it seems reasonable that when we’re under duress we crave the comfort of a tangible reminder of happier moments.

Say what you want about willpower, but when I’m sad or stressed, I don’t really care what those fries are doing to my hips.

So if I turn to junk food for comfort in my meager moments of stress, imagine the emotional eating habits of someone who faces overwhelming daily worries about unemployment, homelessness or overdue bills.

It’s also true that healthier foods require two things that low-income folks don’t have in abundance – time and money.

I myself am guilty of running through the drive through for a cheeseburger simply because after caring for a baby and working a full day, I don’t have the time or energy to go the grocery store, buy supplies, and prepare a healthy meal at home.

While the “plan-ahead” and “prep on the weekend” ideas are helpful, they’re not always feasible for me, let alone someone working two jobs.

And when it comes to the cost of food, healthy food just costs more. Yes, yes you can buy a bag of lettuce for $2. But while a $2 cheeseburger can fill you up, a bag of lettuce cannot. Or at least it doesn’t fill me up.

Even if time and money are available for healthier foods, there’s one more factor. Now, I won’t fib and say that I don’t “know” why and how to eat better.

But for some low-income folks this is just plain true. Sure, with all the media attention, most food insecure families probably know about the health consequences of poor eating habits.

But there’s a very good chance they don’t know how to go about improving their nutritional intake. The Food Network aside, there’s also a good chance some of these families have never learned how or what to cook. They don’t know what foods are both affordable and healthy. They may not have the time to search to peruse Pinterest for recipes.

Maybe they don’t even have the time or desire to worry about such things. I’m not much of a cook myself, so I can relate.

But while I have a support network and the option to join a gym, low-income folks do not. They already have a full plate, just trying to get by.

So, consider all these factors before you raise an eyebrow at an obviously overweight person at the food pantry or in line at the grocery store paying for food with food stamps.

As for me, well I don’t have any excuses that are nearly as sound.

Still, don’t judge me if I indulge in cheese fries now and then.

By Bethany Prange

Communications Coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank