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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

It’s My Turn to Give Back

When I was a kid, my family needed help and organizations like the Foodbank were there for us. Now it’s my turn to give back.

This past weekend, I participated in my second food fair with the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

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This time, I donated my time on behalf of the Friends of the Foodbank, a new group of professionals committed to volunteering and representing the Foodbank at community events.

The Foodbank partnered with one of their partner agencies, a church in Washington, Mo., to provide almost 20,000 pounds of food to more than 130 families in need. Read more

How Does Your Garden Grow?

After visiting a local food bank on a school trip, I was surprised to see the limited fresh produce options for families utilizing area food banks.

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I know shelf-stable items are easier for the average person to donate during a food drive, and more practical for food pantries to store. But I also know how important fresh fruit and vegetables are to a healthy diet!

I decided I wanted to make a difference in my community in the fight for food justice.

My interest in gardening was peaked when I read about Katie’s Krops, a non-profit organization that encourages youth to grow vegetables and fruit to feed the hungry in their communities. Read more

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

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In the last year, more than 19,000 volunteers have helped the St. Louis Area Foodbank feed hungry families by sorting and repackaging food here at our facility in Bridgeton.

We’d like to share that good fortune by encouraging folks to volunteer around the holiday season at any St. Louis-area agency who could use the extra help.

The United Way of Greater St. Louis has compiled a great list of places to volunteer between October and January.

There are a lot of cool things you can do on that list, from making Christmas cards and baking cookies with the kids at Epworth Children and Family Services to celebrating Kwanzaa at St. Louis Crisis Nursery.

Check out all the volunteer opps here:

http://www.stlvolunteer.org/holidayvolunteeringguide

On Christmas Day, you can participate in the annual STL Jewish & Muslim Day of Service.

The goal of this annual project is “to bring together people of different faiths to volunteer their time on Christmas Day” and to “build stronger ties among people of different backgrounds.”

Learn more here: http://www.stljewishmuslimdayofservice.org/

Here are just a few more places where you can lend a hand:

Agency Name: Good Samaritan Ministries in Carbondale

Volunteers needed: To help hand out food to families in need.
Dates/times: 8 a.m. Dec. 20, 2013
8 a.m. Dec. 23, 2013
Address:
Good Samaritan Ministries Food Pantry
University Baptist Church
700 S Oakland
Carbondale, IL 62901

Contact: JoAnn Grammer or Patty Mullen at 618-458-5794
Organization website: www.goodsamcarbondale.org

 

Agency Name: Salvation Army

Volunteers needed: This is toy town/ toys for tots volunteer opportunity where toys and food vouchers are prepared and issued.

Dates/times: Now through Dec. 20, 2013
Address:
3949 Forest Park
St. Louis, MO
Requirements: Must be able to lift 20 pounds

Contact: Sheila Davis at shelia_davis@usc.salvationarmy.org
or 314-646-3166

Joshua Kamer at joshua_kamer@usc.salvationarmy.org
or 314-646-3043

Organization website: www.stlsalvationarmy.org

 

Agency Name: Lansdowne Washington Park Food Pantry

Volunteers needed: Sorting donated food.

Dates/times: Dec. 20, 2013
Dec. 23, 2013
Dec. 27, 2013
Dec. 30, 2013
Address:
AmeriCorps East Saint Louis
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
1274 N. 37th Street
East St. Louis, IL 62204

Requirements: Must be over age 18
Must have valid driver’s license
Must be able to lift 20 lbs or more
Must be able to work outside

Contact: Naisha N. Bailey, pantry supervisor at nbailey@lessiebatesdavis.org or 618-271-2522

Organization website: http://www.lessiebatesdavis.org/

By Bethany Prange

Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Atta Boy Scouts!

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Thanks to your hard work – and the overwhelming generosity of St. Louis city and county residents – we brought in a HUGE amount of food in the 2013 Scouting for Food drive!

So far, the St. Louis Area Foodbank has collected 688,126 pounds of food since the scouts starting pick up food on Nov. 16, 2013. That’s a whopping 55,111 more pounds than last year, and we’re still counting! Additional donations will be either picked up and/or delivered over the next week or two, so our grand total will be even higher!

Across the bi-state region, the results were just as astounding! According to the Post-Dispatch, “more than 2.1 million food items were collected by participants in the annual Scouting for Food drive in the St. Louis area and parts of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.”

“It was the most collected since 2008, when 2.2 million items were gathered, said Christine Dieckmann, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts of America’s Greater St. Louis Area Council.”

Read more of the Post-Dispatch article

Regions Bank locations in the St. Louis area will be accepting any additional donations through the end of this week.

A tremendous thank you to the boy scouts of the Greater St. Louis Area Council for their hard work, and to the generous folks who put donated food out on their porches!

By Bethany Prange

Communications coordinator for the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Summertime Equals Fresh Produce, Even for Families in Need

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Summertime means fresh fruits and veggies at local farmers markets, in your own garden, and even right here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

This week, the Foodbank held two food fairs – one-day food distributions to several hundred families in need.  At those events, we were lucky enough to give out tens of thousands of pounds of fresh produce.

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On Wednesday, Foodbank drivers and staff delivered 26,215 pounds of food to Owensville, Mo.  Included in that food was an amazing 18,380 pounds of fresh produce!

More than 180 families in need received fresh-picked corn, watermelon, potatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries and onions.  A special thanks to Rep. Tom Hurst and the staff of Rep. Dave Schatz for helping volunteers hand out the food! See the photos on Facebook »

On Thursday, Foodbank staff visited Irvington, Ill., where we handed out more than 26,000 pounds of food to more than 170 families.

At the food fair in this small Illinois town, individuals struggling with hunger received carloads of canned goods, fresh corn, cantaloupe, onions, watermelon, cabbage and potatoes. Check out the photos on Facebook »

We are especially grateful to the volunteers and pantry staff who help us hand out food on these hot summer days.

We are also grateful to you – the donors – who provide the funds we need to be able to provide fresh produce to families in need!

Would you like to help provide more healthy food for our communities most vulnerable families. Donate now »

By Bethany Prange
Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.