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Feeling the Pain at the Pump – Gas Prices Hit Low-Income Families

Unless you bike to work or live in a metropolis with abundant public transportation, you are probably already feeling the pain at the pump.

High gas prices quickly take a toll on most Americans, from the fully employed who have to pay more for the daily commute, to the college students who have to forgo visits home.

The Automobile Association of America reports that the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.73 – 43 cents more than a month ago.

Unfortunately, low-income families are among the hardest hit by the rising price of fuel. The 46.2 million Americans living below the poverty line are already struggling to pay for the necessities, including food, fuel and rent.

An increase in the cost of fuel often means these families will not be able to afford the transportation needed to perform the simple tasks of daily life, from driving to a job interview to picking up food at a pantry or grocery store.

An already limited budget can collapse under the additional strain.

Likewise, the gas prices can negatively impact those who provide the much-needed social services to our country’s poor.

Whether an organization provides food to the needy or offers free medical screenings, nonprofits have difficulty compensating for the increase in transportation costs.

At the same time, businesses who donate goods and services may be less likely to do so if their budget is negatively impacted by high gas prices.

At the St. Louis Area Foodbank, we’ve already spent nearly $1,100 more on fuel through the end of January than what we budgeted. Gas prices have continued to rise throughout February, so it is likely that these numbers will only get worse before we close the books for the month.

Last year, the Foodbank spent almost $450,000 in fuel and freight charges to bring product into the St. Louis area and distribute it out to our partner agencies. We have budgeted more than $500,000 for those same charges this year in anticipation of higher fuel costs.

“Prices at U.S. gasoline pumps have climbed for 32 consecutive days to a four-month high,” according to a Feb. 19, 2013 story in the Wall Street Journal.

The climbing prices are the result of a series of factors, according to an NBC News report:

  • Refineries normally schedule maintenance in January and February when the population is less likely to travel due to weather conditions. This maintenance has led some refineries to go offline temporarily.
  • Some oil terminals and refineries are still working to fix operational problems caused by superstorm Sandy.
  • Demand for gas is up, fueled in part by the number of Americans returning to work.

The jump in gas prices has made life even more difficult for Americans looking for work and struggling to pay bills.

Economists predict that the hike in gas prices will cause a downturn because consumers will decrease spending on goods and services. And as businesses and nonprofits struggle to pay for the increasing costs of transportation, the cost of products and services may rise.

Unfortunately, if history is any indication, gas prices will continue to rise into the summer months.

 

 

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

Papa’s Mac and Cheese – A Story of Food Assistance

 

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My Grandparents at their 50th Wedding anniversary, along my Mom ( left), Aunt (middle) and myself (right).    

Why I wanted to work at the St. Louis Area Foodbank…

The short answer is that I wanted to help put food on the tables of people who needed it the most.

But longer answer – please indulge me here – starts with my Papa’s Mac and Cheese.

I know, I know. You’re thinking “what does your grandpa’s pasta dish have to do with the Foodbank?”

Well, a lot, actually. Like most family recipes, Papa’s Mac and Cheese is more than food, it’s a piece of edible history. Whenever Papa makes his now-legendary macaroni and cheese, he will inevitably tell the story of how his signature dish came to be.

He usually laughs and rhetorically asks if we know what government cheese is. My sisters and I always shake our heads and reply, “no.”

This prompts him to stretch out his hands, as though he is talking about a prized catch. He then tells us that “government cheese” was a huge mystery block of cheese that the government used to give out, along with other food, to families on welfare.

It’s hard to image my grandparents on welfare; they are both hard-working, smart, and well-educated people. Papa was a computer programmer before becoming a nurse. Nana was a nurse, and in her 40s, she went to law school and received her law degree.

But long before my time, the recession of the early 1970s had caused financial burdens in their household. When Papa was laid off from his job, they had no choice but to ask for help to feed their seven kids.

Papa and Nana first sought help from their family, and later from the government and food pantries, much like the ones who partner with the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

During this time, Nana went back to work full time as a nurse, and the household duties fell to Papa as he attended nursing school. Taking care of seven kids is no easy task, and having to feed all of them on a tight budget was a huge challenge for Papa.

He had always dabbled in the kitchen, but he had his work cut out for him to get seven kids to try some of the new foods that came from the pantries and the government.

First and foremost, he had to figure out what to do with that huge block of cheese they were given on a monthly basis.

If you Google “government cheese”, the description may make it hard to believe Papa could ever have turned it into anything edible. But somehow, just by adding a little spice and baking it with a bread-crumb crust, he turned this “cheese” into something special that would feed our family for a lifetime.

Over the years, Papa told this story to me, my sisters, our spouses and their families, as well many of our friends.
Today, Papa’s Mac and Cheese still fills our bellies, and the story he tells his helps lift the stigma of food assistance in our culture by putting a face on it.

As I have gone out to talk to some of our food pantry clients, I have discovered that many of the families are like mine. They are hard-working people who are trying to provide for their kids, just like my grandparents.
Many of these people are just like Papa, who distributed food from the pantry to homebound elderly in his neighborhood, giving back the only way he could by volunteering at the food pantry. Like so many of the Foodbank’s clients, Papa felt he couldn’t just take something without giving back.

Food assistance has made a great impact on my life even though I have never received it myself. For me, working at the Foodbank is my way of giving back, just like my Papa.

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

Agency Spotlight – Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry

West Egyptian Pantry

Staff member John Wilson and volunteer Kathy Hobbs at Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry in Waterloo, Il / Photo by Kate Hartman

“If you would have told me I would have been volunteering at a place this small, I would have laughed,” says Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry volunteer Kathy Hobbs of the Waterloo, Illinois based food pantry.  “I love the people; I love what I’m doing.”

While the space is small, the passion to service the families of Monroe County, Illinois is mighty.

Every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can find staff member John Wilson and volunteer Kathy Hobbs serving anywhere from 30 to 40 families at a time.

“When I first started, there were about 15 to 20 families,” says Hobbs of the diligent pantry.

Wilson and Hobbs were able to take a few minutes out of their day to do a brief Q and A with the St. Louis Area Foodbank regarding their time at Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry:

1. Please give me your name and the name of the agency where you volunteer. 

John Wilson, Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry

Kathy Hobbs, Western Egyptian EOC Food Pantry

2. When did you first become involved with this agency? 

Wilson: I began working for the Western Egyptian Steeleville office in April of 2010.  I began working in the Waterloo office January of 2011.

Hobbs: I have been a volunteer since May 2012.

3. What prompted you to begin working or volunteering with this agency? 

Wilson: I was working in weatherization. Now, I balance programs — home buyer’s program, utility assistance, and the food pantry.

Hobbs: I started out as a client; that’s how I started volunteering.  I feel I’m not just taking, I’m giving back.

4. How many people does your agency serve on an average month?

Wilson: 190 to 240 Individuals; 100 to120 families

5. How do you feel the St. Louis Area Foodbank affects the services you are able to provide your clients?  

Wilson: Because of the increase in the past couple months; more families seeking assistance, the product helps to further assist those families.  We appreciate the St. Louis Area Foodbank and all the information they give us.

6. Do you feel the work you do is really making a difference in the lives of the people you serve? Can you tell me about an experience that made you feel you were making an impact? 

Wilson: Yes.  They show appreciation for what we do by dropping off Thank You cards for food or other assistance programs.  It’s been a blessing to be a part of.

Hobbs: Yeah, I do.  A woman just told me, if we weren’t here she and her girls would be going hungry right now. What we give them is an extra boost.

7. In your time as a volunteer/staff member, what are the most significant changes you have seen? 

Wilson: We’ve been able to become more affiliated with a lot more organizations and churches, so our donations have gone up.  We’ve been so blessed. We’ve even had a refrigerator donated to us.

8. From your vantage point, what one thing would you like to see happen to improve the economic situation in America?

Wilson: I’m just praying. I’m not too sure how to answer that one.  Hopefully things get better for everyone.  We’ve definitely taken a significant loss with a lot of our programs.  Hopefully that will bounce back.

Kate_Hartman

 

Kate Hartman is an agency relations coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

2013: A New Hope (Please don’t sue me, George Lucas)

2013

As we head into 2013, I have new hope about the prospects of significantly reducing the amount of people going hungry in America.

Here are 13 reasons the future looks brighter:

• The St. Louis Area Foodbank’s school food pantry program – Children make up the largest percentage of those in need of assistance from the Foodbank.  We were happy to be able to open a food pantry in the Jennings School District in 2012 and we hope to be able to expand the program in 2013.  To learn more about the program, click here to view the article on STLToday.com.

• The “Invest an Acre” program – ADM, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Monsanto and Feeding America have partnered to launch Invest an Acre, a program that encourages farmers across the country to donate one or more acres of crop proceeds to help fight hunger in their own communities.

• More client choice food pantries – The client choice model allows clients to participate in choosing the food they will take home instead of being handed a prepackaged bag of food.  This model provides more dignity to individuals receiving items from the pantry, and eliminates unwanted or wasted food.  Click here for a web exclusive video from NBC’s Dateline that follows a young mother as she picks up food for her family at a client choice food pantry.

• The St. Louis Area Foodbank’s Social Media Avengers – The Social Media Avengersstarted out as an idea to encourage influential social media users in the bi-state region to take an active approach to the issue of hunger.  It became a network of people promoting the Foodbank and our mission across many different platforms from Facebook to Twitter.  In the past year, the Foodbank has added 1,000 new followers on Twitter and received more than 500 new Facebook likes. Avengers have also volunteered at Foodbank mobile distributions, offered guidance on Foodbank events and even helped launch a Twitter hashtag – #ABetter STL which helps promote other nonprofits doing good in our community.

• Celebrities getting behind the cause – Let’s face it, we live in a celebrity culture.  People are fascinated by who is pregnant, who is getting divorced, and who just got arrested.  However, it’s also good to see more celebrities using their influence for good. Nick Cannon recently sat down with Lester Holt on NBC’s Dateline to speak about his personal experiences receiving food from a food pantry as a kid.  Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks across the country, has established an entertainment council comprised of various celebrities that help bring awareness to the issue.

• Addressing food deserts – A food desert is a district in an urban or rural setting with little or no access to large grocery stores. In these neighborhoods, residents have little or no access to fresh and affordable foods needed to maintain a healthy diet.  Instead of such stores, these districts often contain many fast food restaurants and convenience stores.  Through organizations like Fresh Moves in Chicago and City Greens in St. Louis, individuals are working to bring fresh produce into these food deserts. The Foodbank also works to get produce into the hands of those that desperately need it through our Food Fairs and our Mobile Market Program.

• Kids giving back – It is so encouraging to see young people getting involved with fighting hunger in their communities.  Sarah, an eighth grader from Maryland Heights, collected 130 pounds of food from her friends at her birthday party.   Since 2004, students at Mary Institute Country Day School have been collecting turkeys for hungry families in the region.  This year alone, they collected more than 7,000 pounds of turkeys.  In addition to all the food collected through food drives, the list of schools that have come out to the Foodbank are too numerous to list here.

• Retail store pick-up program growth – The Foodbank’s retail store pick-up program has come a long way since we were a pilot program location for Sam’s Club stores.  The Foodbank now picks up from 138 retail stores located on both sides of the river.  That’s up from 105 participating stores the year before.  The program provides more food for those in need and reduces the amount of product discarded by the stores.

• New events – In August 2012, the Foodbank held the first ever “Hunger Is No Laughing Matter” comedy event at the Pageant with Mike Birbiglia and Greg Warren.  The event sold more than 800 tickets and plans are already underway for this year’s event.  Joining Hunger is No Laughing Matter and the Taste of the NFL as signature Foodbank events isWine, Women and Shoes.  This new event will take place on May 29 at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. Tickets are available here.  These signature events generate not only additional funds to help bring more food into the area, but also additional awareness for the Foodbank and the issue of hunger.

• Increased community support – In 2012, nearly 500 area schools, businesses and organizations held food and funds drives for the Foodbank.  That’s an amazing number and once the food arrives at the Foodbank, it needs to be sorted and repackaged to be distributed to our partner agencies.  That leads to the next amazing number – 16,000.  That’s the number of volunteers who spent time helping out at the Foodbank in 2012.  It’s also 4,000 more volunteers than we had the year before.

• Disaster relief – When disaster strikes, Americans pitch in to help out.  The most recent example took place after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast.  It was so encouraging to see organizations like Feeding America working with local food banks and other disaster relief agencies to get food into the hands of those who needed it most.  Locally, the Foodbank worked with Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield after the devastating tornado in Joplin, sending supplies and staff to help in the rebuilding effort.  After a tornado hit the Bridgeton area in 2011, the Foodbank worked with the United Way to get supplies to those affected by the storm.

• Government officials get involved – Hunger is a bi-partisan issue.  The Foodbank has hosted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and most recently, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, over the past few years.  We’ve also received support at Food Fairs from the offices of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, IL State Representative John Bradley and U.S. Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.  It’s important to keep all officials aware of how hunger affects their constituents.

• Long term planning – It’s nice to come to work every day knowing that everyone in the building, no matter what their position in the organization, is working towards a common goal.  That’s what we have here at the Foodbank.  Our senior management team has the experience to know where we’ve been and foresight to guide us into the future.  Ending hunger is a daunting proposition, but we know that we have the strategic plan in place to ensure that we are distributing as much food as possible and growing with the need.

Ryan Farmer

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

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

Low Cost Christmas

Christmas Crafts

The holidays are a busy time for most of us.

There are presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake and the tree to trim.

Sure, it is a joyful season, but it is also a fast-paced time filled with lots of stress.

One of the most stressful things about the holidays is that many of us have to worry if we will be able to afford all the things we want to do as a family and all the gifts we hope to give.

No, Christmas isn’t all about the presents. But gift-giving is an integral part of the season.

So for those of us who are trying to stick to a holiday budget, we here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank have come up with a few wallet-friendly ideas.

With the help of our Pinterest page, we have come up with this list. Please feel free to comment below and offer your own suggestions!

 

Things to Do with the Family during the Holidays

• Load the family into the car and take a drive through your community to look at Christmas lights. Print out an I Spy list for the kids, giving them special things to look for during the drive. Here’s a great one.

• Let the kids make ornaments with items from around the house like popsicle stick! Check out these cute sleds! Or, make the cute ornaments above using cookie cutters andhomemade salt dough!

• Write letters and make cards for soldiers who can’t be with their families during the holidays. Here’s where to send them.

• Gather the neighbors together and pick a night to go caroling around the neighborhood.

• Bake cookies together as a family. No need to be fancy, buy affordable cookie mixes or ingredients at the local dollar store.

• Take the whole family to the FREE light display at Our Lady of the Snows National Shrine. The Way of Lights is magical! Plus, you can visit the Christmas Tree Room, wreath and Lego displays and experience the fun in the Children’s Village and puppet show!

• Volunteer together as a family. St. Louis has many, many charities who may need your help during the holiday season! Here’s a great list of places from the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

• Sit together and read holiday stories. Here’s a list of holiday books for kids.

• Have a holiday movie night with your favorite shows. Make a big pot of hot chocolate to sip during the movie! Here’s a site where you can watch 101 holiday movies online!

• Make DIY gifts for the entire family. These can be as simple or as complicated as you wish.  You can make almost anything from items around the house. Just a few ideas: a candle luminary out of an old tin can; handmade wreaths; bird seed ornaments; and Christmas décor from old wine bottles. Get more ideas on our Pinterest page.

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

 

Join The Club

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The new Sam’s Club location in Wentzville / Photo by Shannon O’Connor

 Yesterday was a special day for the Sam’s Club team in St. Louis. On Oct. 30, 2012, they celebrated the grand opening of a new Sam’s Club location in Wentzville.

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This new location, at 3055 Bear Creek Drive off Wentzville Parkway, will provide residents of St. Charles County and surrounding counties with great employment opportunity, consumer growth, and community giving to local organizations.

We know Sam’s Club staff are thrilled about this new store, but we here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank may be just as excited.

In 2011, Sam’s Club donated more than 49 million pounds of food to Feeding America’s affiliated food banks across the United States.

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Since 2007, the nine Sam’s Club locations in the bi-state region have been generously donating to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.  In Fiscal Year 2012, the St. Louis Area Foodbank received 848,112 pounds from those nine clubs. That food provided approximately 678,000 meals to families in need.

So it is with great honor and excitement that we partner with the newest and tenth Sam’s Club location.

Our Foodbank trucks pick up from each Club location on a weekly basis. We receive product from the bakery, meat, and deli departments.

 

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After each pickup, the food is brought to the Foodbank where it is weighed, repacked, and prepared for agencies to receive via pickup or delivery.  Sam’s Club donations offer our clients a great variety of protein, grains and vitamins, plus the occasional mix of desserts or snack items.

 

We can’t wait to start getting these types of products from the new Sam’s Club in Wentzville. We thank all our Sam’s Club partners and look forward to working with the staff.

If you are in the Wentzville area and have a moment, stop by to visit, shop, or join the newest addition to the Sam’s Club family and an esteemed partner of the St. Louis Area Foodbank!

ShannonOConnor_blog

    Shannon O’Connor is the distribution manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

Accounting For Food Safety – At the Foodbank and At Home

Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson stands in front of product at the St. Louis Area Foodbank / Photo by Bethany Prange

I’ve worked in the warehousing industry for most of my career, but this is the first non-profit organization that I have worked for. It is by far the most rewarding job I’ve had.

Not only do I get the opportunity to use my inventory tracking and management skills, but I also get to take part in a mission that improves the quality of life in our community.

I’ve been the Inventory Control Manager for almost five years at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.  My primary responsibilities include food safety, tracking and reconciliation, and compliance requirements for four state programs.

The Foodbank receives donations from across the country as well as from local donors.  Many of the donations are offered to us because they are a) in less than desired packaging or b) items that are close to code, which means they may soon expire.

Sometimes, obtaining and distributing 25 million pounds of food is quite a challenge. We work hard to track, store and distribute every food item safely and accurately. It is my responsibility to make sure all of this happens and to keep a strong relationship with our donors.

Over the past five years, I have noticed an increase in perishable products, particularly through the retail pickup program.  The retail pickup program allows us to pick up food directly from local retail stores, such as Walmart and Target.

Roughly 80 percent of the products we pick up from the local retail stores are items that need to be consumed within a short period of time.  To make sure this happens and no food goes to waste, we work with member agencies to identify last minute channels of distribution.

Regardless of which agency gets our food, safety is our top priority.

The Foodbank recently began the process of becoming AIB Certified.  Taking on a challenge such as this requires discipline from every aspect of food handling.  It is our goal to receive a superior rating from AIB – the highest standard of food safety – over the next six months.  This certification comes with extreme challenges and requires effort from all departments at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.  I take food safety seriously, and I understand that it is our responsibility to provide our community with a quality service.

That’s why we have made investments this year to ensure we can distribute food efficiently and accurately.  We will be upgrading our software database this year, an effort that will streamline some of the processes we currently use.

In 2011, we implemented RF scanners in the warehouse.  With this technology, we are able to move product using handheld devices in real-time, making us more efficient while eliminating some of the human error out on the floor.

In my time here at the Foodbank, I’ve learned so much about food safety.  I have a large responsibility to make sure we distribute food safely at the Foodbank, and I take this responsibility home with me to make sure my family has safe food on the table.

We all put a lot of trust in the stores, restaurants and friends that sometimes prepare food for our family. That’s where I rely on my personal knowledge of food safety. I feel that educating people around me about food safety is important.

A friend recently asked me how he could determine what was still safe to eat in his pantry.  I simply directed him to the food life extension list that can be found on our website.  My friend found the list useful and was delighted to come across the FDA recall widget on our member’s page.

When someone asks me “what do you do for a living”? I say inventory control at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.  The phrase “inventory control” gives some people pause.

After all, we don’t have to worry about sales, right?  While that is true, monitoring and protecting our inventory here is perhaps even more important.

I came from a sales/warehousing backround at a for-profit company and I find the tracking of inventory here to be held at a much higher standard.  Not only do we need to move product safely, we need to account for every bit of it.  Donors want to be sure that we can recall product, handle it safely, and report back on how it impacts the community.

I am fortunate to be part of such a great mission in the St. Louis area.  From the member agencies to the donors, we successfully combat the issue of hunger in a safe and effective way.

    Tim Jackson is the inventory control manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

Two Words That Shouldn’t Go Together

US Veteran

The Foodbank delivered more than 28,000 pounds of food to veterans in Marion, IL / Photo by Bethany Prange

 

All his belongings were stacked in a tidy pile at the base of a tree.

His stash of worldly possessions wasn’t large – just a duffel bag, a few shirts and a bag of toiletries.

As we added boxes of food to these supplies, the young man wondered aloud if anyone would steal his stuff before he could come back to retrieve it.

I looked around, convincing myself that surely, no one would steal from a homeless veteran.

“Homeless veteran – those are two words that shouldn’t go together,” said Steve, a veteran living at the Marion VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois.

Steve helped me carry boxes of food across the grounds of the center to this tree, a temporary rest area for one homeless vet.

Throughout the day Steve and I helped other volunteers carry boxes of food for the veterans who had no car, and in some cases, no permanent home.

This day was a chance for veterans in need to get the things they needed, from medical care and counseling to food and clothing.

 
At the annual Stand Down for Veterans event, the St. Louis Area Foodbank joined other service agencies in providing that help.

 

The Foodbank handed out 28,000 pounds of food to nearly 150 veterans and their families.

While most veterans were able to pick up their much-needed food in a vehicle, some came through the line in wheelchairs or motorized scooters. Others walked through the line, carrying armloads of food to a nearby tree.

From there, I couldn’t be sure where these proud men and women would go. Would friends pick them up? Could they catch a ride to a shelter?

All I knew for certain was that these men and women would have food to eat, at least for awhile.

To me, it didn’t seem like enough.

As these veterans expressed their gratitude for the food, we thanked them for their service, wishing we could do more.

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

Grocery Shopping For Good

Schnucks EScripts

A Schnucks’ cashier scans a customer’s eScrip card / Photo by Bethany Prange

No time to help your local food bank fight hunger?

We understand.

Life is crazy and often too hectic to leave much time for do-goodery.

But lucky for us, there is a cool way you can help just by doing something you already do!

We’ve told you before about the Schnucks eScrip card. It’s that nifty little card that designates 3 percent of your grocery bill to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Every time you shop for groceries and hand your eScrip card to the cashier at checkout at Schnucks, you are making a free donation to fight hunger in the bi-state region.

If you don’t already have an eScrip card, you can get one from the St. Louis Area Foodbank or at your neighborhood Schnucks Courtesy Counter. It’s totally free!

It’s a simple process to activate the card and designate the Foodbank as your charity of choice.  Then, all you have to do is give the card or key fob to the cashier when you shop.

And now, using the eScrip card is even better. From Sept.1 through Oct. 31, use your eScrip card to participate in the Schnucks eScrip Back-To-School Contest.

This year, nonprofits with the highest increase of shoppers using their eScrip cards compared to last year will get prizes!  The first prize is $500 for the nonprofit with the highest increase of eScrip users!

Plus, one Schnucks shopper from that nonprofit’s group will get a $50 Schnucks gift card for their own use!

So get your grocery shopping done, and be sure to use your eScrip card at the checkout! You could help the St. Louis Area Foodbank win $500 AND get the chance for some free groceries for yourself!

JaneC

Jane Corpora is a grantwriter at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

 

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