Happy New Year from the St. Louis Area Foodbank! This is a time of year that brings out so many emotions from people- but perhaps none stronger than the “hope” for a better year to come than the one that just concluded. It is always interesting because we know that every year will bring both ups and downs, wins and losses, successes and failures, heartbreaking events and heartwarming events. As we reflect on 2022, I would speculate that if prompted, we could all categorize events into one of these categories. The goal for all of us at the St. Louis Area Foodbank as we look ahead to 2023, is to do everything possible to strengthen and support our region in a very challenging environment. However, achieving this goal is not possible without you.
At the St. Louis Area Foodbank, we are looking at 2023 with intentionality. We are engaged in conversations, creating strategies, and making plans to do more than just “hope” for a positive 2023. As we start this New Year, here is what we know:
- There are many more people in the bi-state region seeking emergency food assistance than last year.
- Food donations (pounds) are down overall despite more people and groups hosting food drives for us (THANK YOU to everyone that hosted a food drive!).
- Financial gift amounts are lower year over year due to the economy – so it requires the kindness and generosity from more groups and more people to help sustain our operations at these increased levels (THANK YOU to everyone that has made a donation in 2022).
- Our need to purchase food is up significantly year over year due to lower retail/manufacturer donations and the cost of food is also up due to inflation.
All of these factors mean that we need to be creative, build new relationships, find ways to cut costs, and raise more funds, while working to provide our nearly 600 partners across the 26 counties that we serve with the resources they need to continue to be on the front lines in their communities, helping families when they need it most. This may not sound like “good” news – but there are actually some hopeful things happening if you look at some of the facts:
- More people and groups are hosting food drives for us. This is an AMAZING trend- and one that we need to continue in 2023. It takes a village for sure – and we are so grateful to every group, business, faith-based organization, school, or individual that created, hosted, managed and moved mountains to conduct a food drive for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Your selfless actions are making a difference – and we are truly grateful!
- While the size of gifts is down, more people are donating to the Foodbank, and together, that is helping us meet the need in our community. We were so humbled by the generosity of this community during our “Share the Holidays” campaign – and we all know that hunger does not “take a holiday” – so we will continue to seek support and new support from our community to meet the increased need from people and families seeking emergency food assistance to the best of our abilities.
As we focus on generating gifts to support our mission, we realized (thanks to your feedback) that we must provide more options for those willing to make a gift. We are also excited to introduce something new for the Foodbank in 2023 – VENMO! We are thrilled to have this new platform and ways that people can donate the to St. Louis Area Foodbank. Under the VENMO app – click on businesses and type in @SLAFB and you should reach the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
We are also thrilled to announce that after a 3-year hiatus due to COVID, we will be bringing back our signature (and only!) event – ROCK OUT HUNGER! Mark your calendars for Friday May 5 at the Chesterfield Amphitheater and keep an eye on our social media channels for more information, sponsorship information, VIP areas and tickets. This is a family friendly event and one that if you have attended, you know you missed – and one that if you have NOT attended – you don’t want to miss!
There is much to be grateful for as we start off the New Year – and the best part, is that every day gives us all a new chance to make a difference in the lives of someone else. So, from all of us to all of you – Cheers to 2023! Here’s hoping that your ups are higher than your downs; may your wins outweigh your losses; your successes overshadow your failures; and your heartwarming experiences always heal any heartbreak you may encounter this year.