“Hunger can affect anyone, but ANYONE can affect hunger.” These words, this “challenge” if you will, developed organically. It wasn’t a product of research, marketing plans or a survey. You’ll see that phrase on many of our printed materials. If you were to take a walk through our building and make stops in any of our offices, our Volunteer Center or our Agency Pick-Up Dock, you would see this phrase being lived out day in and day out. At the Foodbank and at our community partners throughout the bi-state region, you’ll see people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Some are receiving food assistance; some are helping others, and some are doing both.
If you are familiar with the Foodbank or have spent even five minutes on our website, you have seen the statistics that demonstrate the need in our community for one of life’s most necessities – food. Many of the people receiving assistance never thought they would need that food, but that’s the thing about hunger…it can affect anyone. We’re all just one life event away from needing help of one kind or another.
What you might be less familiar with are the myriad of ways that YOU (yes, you!) can affect hunger. Every single person regardless of age, ability or what high school you went to (I’ve learned this is a St. Louis thing! ?) can help make a difference in the lives of others right here in our community.
Recently, I was in a meeting at a very large company here in St. Louis and was surprised to hear an executive say, “you have to tell people what you need because people are looking to give back, they just don’t know how.” Taking heed of those words, here is my attempt to share three EASY and fulfilling ways you can help us be part of the “anyone can affect hunger” equation:
- Make a Financial Donation. It takes money to receive, store, and distribute more than 43 million pounds of food and personal care items annually. I will not sugar coat this. I will also not be shy in bragging that we do an incredible job being good stewards of our donations. Our organization is incredibly lean with 97% of all resources going directly to support our programs and food. This means with every $1 we can provide 4 meals to those in need. I would humbly ask that you consider a recurring donation to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. We are going to need more individuals, companies and foundations joining us in our work if we are going to achieve of vision of creating a stronger, healthier bi-state region where no one goes to bed hungry. To make a secure online donation today, please visit our website – http://STLFoodbank.org/donate.
- Volunteer. Whether it is volunteering at our facility, volunteering at one of our mobile distributions or lending a hand at your local food pantry, WE NEED YOU! We are growing and will need more volunteers to help keep our costs low and our impact high. I ask that you consider volunteering either by yourself or with your family, friends, co-workers, Boy/Girl Scout troop or church group. The work is hard, but humbling, and you will leave knowing you made a difference in the lives of others. (Warning: the feeling of euphoria you experience after volunteering will have you wanting to come back again and again!) To learn more about our volunteer opportunities and to sign up, please visit: http://STLFoodbank.org/volunteer.
- Host a Food Drive. We always need food – good food, healthy food, the type of food you would want to feed yourself or family. We would love to help you look like a hunger hero by providing all the resources, food collection barrels and a list of good items to donate. We’ll even make it easy for you by dropping off the collection barrels and picking them up any time of the year! We need food year-round, so please consider hosting a food drive during the “non-traditional” food drive months of January through September. Information about hosting a food drive can be found at: https://stlfoodbank.org/food-drives/. After you fill out the form, our Food Drive Coordinator will follow up to coordinate details.
Of course, there are more ways to help such as: sharing a special talent you possess (e.g. marketing, event planning, fundraising, leading other volunteers, or I.T.), being an advocate for the hungry and impoverished, volunteering at a Foodbank event, making a legacy gift through our planned giving program, or signing up for one (or all) of our newsletters. The most important thing is to get involved in a way that is meaningful to you. There are literally dozens of ways that you can make a difference and we are grateful for every gift of time, talent, treasure and testimony.
I was especially grateful for a special visitor we had at the Foodbank recently. During my daughter’s last week of first grade, she came out to the Foodbank on one of her half days. She said she wanted to help others and make a difference with the time she had. I was beaming with pride as she chose to come and volunteer instead of playing with her friends. It reminded me of something I saw once as I was traveling: “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of others.” I believe in the goodness of our community, and I look forward to continuing to serve, support and strengthen our community, AS A COMMUNITY, by providing food and hope. Because when we all work together, it can serve as a powerful reminder that while hunger can affect anyone, anyone can affect hunger. Join us!