What began with a few individuals at Ascension Parish interested in “giving back,” has grown into an ongoing commitment to supporting the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
On the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month, 15 to 25 people come to work the 9 a.m. to noon shift at the distribution center. Sometimes the numbers grow when they bring along family members, such as spouses, kids home from college or high school students on spring break. The parish posts information about volunteering at the Foodbank twice monthly in its Sunday bulletin, which helps generate interest and new team members. Ascension, located in Chesterfield, Mo., has a long history of volunteerism in the area of feeding the hungry.
The parish has operated the St. Nicholas Food Pantry located in St. Louis City for the past 30 years. The pantry is open every Monday from noon to 1:30 p.m. and served 4,682 individuals (2,323 families) last year. Families receive an average of 52 pounds of food per visit. The parish keeps the shelves stocked through restaurant and retailer donations, retail purchases, USDA products and the Foodbank. “Working at the Foodbank not only gives you a good feeling, in that you are helping provide food to those in need, but it’s also a workout and some great socialization with your fellow team members,” says volunteer Ken Bertha. “I know that I personally enjoy the opportunity and look forward to it. I know all of our regulars do as well.”