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Pantry Spotlight: AGAPE

A forward-thinking non-profit, AGAPE consistently reviews client needs and its methods for meeting them.

For example, AGAPE recently consolidated its two locations into one countywide site, allowing them to serve clients more efficiently and to even increase services while decreasing costs. “In ever-challenging financial times, being good stewards of the dollar is incredibly important,” notes Executive Director Michelle Bernth. “We believe that this change allows us to make the best use of the money given to us by our funders and donors.”

In addition, AGAPE offers emergency food services, case management, connections to job training, search and readiness assistance, daycare assistance, utilities assistance (as funds allow), and access to clothing, personal care and household items. AGAPE also helps provide school supplies to children in need and special meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It hosts an “adopt-a-family” Christmas program for local families and addresses emotional needs by providing birthday boxes for children that include a gift, cake and decorations.

AGAPE seeks to give people a hand up, not just a hand out. To that end, they are working toward measuring meaningful outcomes. They have created a new program, FAST (Families Achieving Self-Sufficiency Today), to help families break out of poverty and get on the path to self-sufficiency by not only meeting their immediate needs, but also identifying long-term help they will need to regain their footing.  

“It goes a long way to remember that our clients are people, just like us, who happen to be going through a hard time,” Bernth explains. “We treat every client with dignity and respect and approach every situation on an individual basis. Our volunteers are wonderful and they are committed to providing caring assistance to our clients. We could not do what we do without our volunteers!”

AGAPE receives a variety of products from the Foodbank, including USDA commodities and twice-monthly retail product deliveries. The agency does not own a truck, so they rely on the Foodbank to deliver these products to them. AGAPE also participates in the Foodbank mobile markets program.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30am-2:00pm, by appointment only

People served each month: 1,200

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed after planning a whole Thanksgiving meal, then this easy dessert will save you time and stress.

This pumpkin pie parfait has all of the flavor and nostalgia of a pumpkin pie with less fat and less time spent in the kitchen.

Kelly Hall, our Registered Dietitian, demonstrates how easy it is to put this dessert together.

Give yourself a break this year, and keep everyone happy with the pumpkin pie flavor they love.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce fat-free sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (or approx 1/2 of a 15oz can)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 -2 cup Cool Whip Lite
  • 4 low-fat cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup pecans

Directions

1. Prepare pudding according to package directions. Be sure to whisk for the full two minutes as the box instructs to ensure creamy texture.

2. Whisk in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.

3. Allow to set up in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes (longer is better).

4. In small glasses or bowls, spoon in about 1/3 cup of pumpkin pudding, spreading with a spoon to create an even layer.

5. Next, add a layer of cool whip, followed by the last layer of pumpkin pudding.

6. Top with a dollop of cool whip and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers and pecans.

7. Enjoy immediately while graham crackers are still crunchy.

 

Find more healthy Thanksgiving recipes here.

The Recipe Card: July 2015

Toward the end of July, we were in Pitsburg, IL, and Warrenton, MO, for Food Fairs.

We distributed produce like carrots, potatoes, apples, radishes, and watermelons. We hope the recipes we collected will be a good resource for the community.

Kay’s Homemade Applesauce

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Ingredients:

  • 7-10 Apples, peeled and cored
  • 3-4 TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ bag marshmallows
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a pot and cook until apples are tender. Add water if needed. Mash. 


Leonard’s Apple Crisps

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of crescent roll dough
  • 3-4 apples peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1  tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl. Place crescent roll dough flat on a baking sheet, fill with a spoonful of apple mixture, fold dough over top of apple filling (it’s ok if the apple filling shows). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp.


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Texas Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 potatoes peeled (optional) and cubed
  • 1 pkg ranch seasoning
  • Italian seasoning

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix potato cubes with seasonings. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.


Radish Coleslaw

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 10 radishes, shredded
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS malt vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Instructions

Combine cabbage, carrots, and radishes and mix well. Mix sugar, salt, vinegar, and mayonnaise until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour mayonnaise mixture over vegetables and toss thoroughly. Serve cold.


 

Have a good recipe to share? Looking for more ideas? Feel free to email your ideas to Maddie Smith, the Communications Coordinator at msmith@stlfoodbank.org.

Glosemeyer Farm Corn Donation

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On Monday, July 13, the St. Louis Area Foodbank worked with the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) for the third time since 2010 to harvest 7,210 lbs. of corn. The corn was then donated to Loving Hearts in Washington, MO, a partner agency of the Foodbank.

In 2010 the donation was 4,708 lbs. followed by 4,386 lbs. in 2014. This year was the largest donation yet—7,210 lbs. of fresh, sweet corn!

The corn was grown and donated in 2014 and 2015 by Glosemeyer Farm in Marthasville, MO, through their partnership with MCGA.

Missouri Corn Growers Association

MCGA is a grassroots organization of farmer-members who have been working to increase the profitability of corn production through partnerships and education since 1978.

We wanted to take the time to thank MCGA and Glosemeyer Farms for partnering with us this year to provide fresh produce to the community.

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If corn is starting to sound really good, try out this tasty side dish recipe:

Sheri’s Cold Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 pan of cornbread
  • 2-3 cups corn, cooked or canned
  • 2 cans red beans
  • 3 cups of chopped vegetables (cauliflower, green peppers, tomatoes, whatever you prefer)
  • 3 cups ranch dressing

Instructions:

  • Crumble cornbread in the bottom of a dish
  • Cover the cornbread with corn and red beans
  • Add the chopped vegetables
  • Coat the top with ranch dressing
  • Toss together, serve cold

Last year, our distribution manager, wrote a blog about the Glosemeyer donation.

Read it here >> Picking Sweet Corn for Families in Need

SNAP Now Matched at Farmers Markets

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Schlafly SNAP 2 It Campaign

We are happy to announce that Schlafly has been awarded a $12,000 FINI Grant for St. Louis farmers markets.

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This year, the Schlafly Farmers Market partnered with Wholesome Wave to secure a Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant. The grant will supplement their SNAP 2 It campaign, which matches SNAP (food stamp) dollars to double the amount recipients are able to spend at local farmers markets.

FINI Grants

FINI Grants are awarded to programs that offer incentives for SNAP recipients to shop at local farmers markets, which makes it a great fit for the SNAP 2 It campaign.

The FINI Grant will be divided over three years to provide a matching program for those using their SNAP dollars to purchase food at local markets. The matching program only applies to fruits and vegetables, but SNAP dollars can always be used to buy meats, eggs, seeds, and other produce at local farmers markets.

The FINI Grant participating markets are as follows:

Tower Grove Market

Tower Grove Park

4256 Magnolia Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon., mid-April – November

Contact: Email contact@tgmarket.org

 

Webster Groves Market

Gazebo Park, 4 E Lockwood Ave, Webster Groves, MO 63119

Thursdays 3 – 6:30 p.m., May 7 – October 22

Contact: 314-963-5696 x5888; info@webstergrovesfarmersmarket.com

 

Schlafly Market

7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood, MO 63143

Wednesdays 4 – 7 p.m., April – October

Contact: 314-241-2337

 

North City – Saturday Market

2700 North 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106

Saturdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., June 7 – October 18

Contact: Jessica at jessica@onsl.org or call 314.241.5031 x102.

 

International Institute – Saturday Market (West End Farmers Market)

Delmar Blvd & DeBaliviere Ave, St Louis, MO 63112

Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., May – October 17

Contact: Charlie McIntosh at mcintoshc@iistl.org or call (314) 773-9090 x128

 

Cherokee Street Market

2647 Cherokee, St. Louis, MO 63118

Fridays 4 – 7 p.m., June 6 – October 17

Contact: http://cherokeemarket.org/CONTACT

 

EarthDance Farms at Ferguson Farmers Market

Victorian Plaza

20 South Florissant Street, Ferguson, MO 63135

Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon

 

The FINI Grants were part of the 2014 Farm Bill and provide $100 million in competitive grant funds to be distributed over the next four years.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank will be conducting SNAP outreach at the participating farmers markets throughout the year. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance signing up for SNAP benefits please contact our SNAP Outreach Coordinators

Stamp Out Hunger 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations in order to provide assistance to the millions of Americans who are struggling with hunger.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected more than one billion pounds of food since its inception as a national food drive in 1993.

The nation’s 180,000 letter carriers will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous Americans in more than 10,000 communities and deliver them to food banks and other hunger-relief organizations.

In 2016, our community donated over 179,000 pounds of food! Nationwide, the drive collected over 80 million pounds to help feed families in need!

Volunteer shifts are still available! Sign up to volunteer at a post office near you!


What foods are good to donate to the food drive?

Here are a few non-perishable food items requested by food pantries:

• Cereal
• Pasta
• Rice
• Canned fruits and vegetables
• Canned meals such as soups, chili, pasta
• 100% juice
• Peanut butter
• Pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce
• Macaroni & cheese
• Canned protein – tuna, chicken, turkey
• Beans – canned or dry

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger and follow the food drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.

Thanks to the many Stamp Out Hunger sponsors for their support!

National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
AFL-CIO
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA)
United Way
Valassis
Valpak
Local Food Pantries
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
AARP

Share Your Story – The Checkout Line

Since becoming involved with the St. Louis Area Foodbank and their Young Professionals Board, I’ve become more sensitive to hunger issues in the region and the administration of assistance to families in need. Yesterday, I was in the check-out line at a local grocery store. While in line, I noticed a lady in front of me with a cart full of food. She had on a uniform, so I assumed she stopped at the grocery store on her way home from work. She held a blue card in her hand and I slyly attempted to see if she had a blue US Bank card like mine or an EBT Card.

Why? Just being nosy.

I felt guilty as she noticed me looking at her card and she moved it to her other hand, as if she was embarrassed that someone noticed she was receiving federal assistance so that she could feed her family. I diverted my attention by checking Facebook on my phone to pass the time, but I couldn’t help but think of a news article that I’d recently seen. A member of the Missouri Legislature wants to pass a bill that prohibits families receiving SNAP benefits from purchasing cookies, steak, seafood, energy drinks, sodas, and chips. So, I decided to be nosy again and check out her cart.

From what I could see, her cart contained family size portions of ground beef (it’s usually cheaper to buy the larger portions and then separate before freezing), some fresh fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables, milk, juice, pasta, a few pizzas, frozen meals and other food. She also had non-food items, but necessary items, such as toilet paper, which cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits.

I looked at my cart. I had cookies, chips, and soda.

After a few minutes, I looked up again. The woman was studying the screen to see the total price for her items add up. She looked worried as the cashier neared the end of the food on the belt. The cashier whispered something to her, and as he scanned the last item, he looked at her and nodded. A look of relief came over her face and she swiped two cards: one for personal items, and the EBT card for food items.

I was judgmental.

Shame on me.

I embarrassed her by purposefully “investigating” her payment method, and examined her personal choice of what she fed her family, while I was planning on putting junk food in my own body. I’m no better of a person than she is. She shouldn’t feel judged or ashamed because she needs help. She was making smart choices for her family, and everyone, despite economic status, should have the freedom to make choices for their families.

Jennifer Haynes
St. Louis Area Foodbank Young Professionals Board Chair

#WeSparkChange

3 Ways to Help Fight Hunger Spark Change

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Through May 3, Walmart is teaming up with some of America’s favorite food manufacturers to fight hunger and spark change across the country.

There are three ways you can help feed local families:

Buy Your Favorite Foods at Walmart Stores

At area Walmart locations, when you purchase designated products from Campbell’s, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and Unilever, it will trigger a donation of 10 cents to Feeding America to help secure one meal on behalf of the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Donate at the Register

You can make a donation of $1, $2, or $5 at the register of your local Walmart. Within our 26-county service territory, 100% of these funds will be allocated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Share Your Smile on Social Media

During the campaign, Walmart will raise awareness about the one in six people nationally that struggle with hunger. Take a picture with six people who commit to fight hunger. Post the picture publicly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WeSparkChange. Walmart will donate $10 to Feeding America for every qualified post, up to $1.5 million. Funds raised will be distributed equitably among participating Feeding America food banks.

For more information on the campaign and to see how many meals have been secured for local families, click here.

National Nutrition Month

The St. Louis Area Foodbank is fortunate to have Kelly Hall, a registered dietitian, on staff. For National Nutrition Month, Kelly shares how the Foodbank is improving nutrition for the families that we serve.

Foods to Encourage

In 2013, the St. Louis Area Foodbank adopted a model designed to increase the amount of nutritious food we provide to our clients. The Foods to Encourage model has a goal that 66% of the food brought into the Foodbank is fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low/non-fat dairy. We recognize that hunger is a health issue and we want our clients to have nutritious foods available to them in order to fight against diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Read more

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