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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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!
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.
Most of us are looking for at least two things in a volunteer experience.
The ability to make a positive, tangible impact on our community
The chance to do something personally inspiring, yet relevant to a good cause
This spring, the St. Louis Area Foodbank has a volunteer opportunity that meets both of those criteria.
By joining the volunteer crew of the national Hunger in America study, you’ll be on the front lines of hunger, an issue that plagues tens of thousands of individuals in our community.
Hunger study volunteers will visit food pantries in Missouri and Illinois, conducting interviews with the individuals who actually face hunger on a regular basis.
The Hunger in America study is conducted May 1 - August 30, 2013. Nationally, 70,000 food pantry clients will be scientifically surveyed and interviewed. The information gathered in this effort will raise awareness, nationally and locally, about the reality of hunger in our region.
Even more, this valuable data is used:
To promote local and national legislation that helps our most vulnerable neighbors
To raise private and public funds to help address hunger in our region
To provide the public with the hard facts about hunger and poverty
By agreeing to participate in this important volunteer mission, you’ll learn firsthand about hunger and the effect it has on families in our region.
Volunteers must meet these requirements:
Attend a training session – the first one is April 27
Be at least 18 years old
Have reliable transportation
Have basic technology skills
Be available for five to eight pantry visits during the 18-week data collection period
Be able to effectively communicate with diverse populations
Be able to exercise discretion and show sensitivity toward clients
My name is Ron Banister. I actually grew up in Eastern Kansas but I have been in St. Louis since 1984.
When did you first start volunteering at the Foodbank?
Oh, about two years ago, our church, Ascension Church comes once a month. Now they’re starting to come twice a month. I would come up with them and work up here. Then one day I just asked William about possibly helping. I was really inspired by that. I am retired and I was looking for something to do that would help me give back to people.
Do you feel the St. Louis Area Foodbank impacts the community?
Oh yeah, tremendously. I see an impact from different people that I talk to that use the resources – you know some people who run pantries and such.
Do you feel the work you do is making a difference in the lives of people in need?
Definitely, I definitely do. I work on Mondays at a food pantry that’s in downtown St. Louis and there I am seeing the people that are coming. You just would not believe how appreciative they are of everything we give to them.
What one thing would you like to see happen to improve circumstances for those struggling with hunger in America?
Well, I think one of the things that maybe we could work on is nutrition. I think sometimes we are giving out a lot of cakes and Oreo cookies and we really need to give them some things that are high protein. You know they aren’t getting the protein and the energy that they need.
Would you encourage others to volunteer at the Foodbank?
The only thing I can say is since I started coming here on a more regular basis, and even when I was helping before… I just really enjoy every day that I come here. I really enjoy coming here. I have never really worked at a place that I look forward to when I come in. On the days when me and my wife are out of town, and I miss Friday, I actually go ‘oh darn I am not going to be able to go to the Foodbank.’ I feel like it’s an opportunity and a blessing for me to be able to come up here.