Volunteers at a recent St. Louis Area Foodbank Food Fair load up a car with potatoes / Photo by Bethany Prange
The driver parks the Foodbank truck and then quickly unloads the pallets of food, careful to place the items in the correct order. Volunteers buzz about, re-bagging 50 pound bags of produce into portions more suitable for a family. Legislators and their staffers arrive and ask where they are most needed. And then the line of cars starts moving…
This is what it feels like to be at a St. Louis Area Foodbank Food Fair. Food Fairs are a unique opportunity for Foodbank staffers to directly serve those in need.
Using distribution statistics, the Foodbank’s Agency Relations team identifies outlying counties in our service territory that are in need of additional pounds of food to assist with the increasing amount of people in poverty within those counties. Working in conjunction with partner agencies, the Foodbank allocates 200 vouchers to the agency to be distributed to their neediest families. These vouchers allow the families to access the event, and receive additional items to supplement their food supply.
During the event, clients drive slowly along a row of pallets filled with a mix of shelf-stable product, fresh produce, bread and other nutritious items. The line is manned by volunteers, who load the product into the client’s cars. The line moves continuously for two hours, until all of the vouchers for that day have been collected; all that remains are bare pallets once hidden by overflowing food.
That quickly, up to 30,000 lbs of food has been efficiently dispensed into the hands of those that need it most.
The Agency Relations staff is proud to stand by the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s mission of feeding hungry people by distributing food through our partner agencies. When we’re able to directly assist in the mission alongside our partners and volunteers at food fairs, it helps remind us why we’re in this fight against hunger.
Sara Lewis is an agency relations coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank