Share the Holidays!

Share the Holidays!
Meredith Knopp

Everywhere you go, there are signs of holiday cheer. From lights and decorations to advertisements for the “biggest sale of the year” – everything looks and feels differently this time of year. It is magical, hopeful, and a time to reflect and refocus on the things that matter most.

To me, it is not about presents, sales, and “things” that brighten the season – although a beautiful light display still takes my breath away. This year, perhaps more than any year before, it is all about gratitude – family – friendships – and the hope that can only come during this time.

2023 was a struggle. We saw eggs reach 5 dollars a dozen, an uncertain economy, conflicts, and more challenges than I could easily squeeze into one blog. Here at the Foodbank, it has also been a year of change – we had to rediscover ourselves and our priorities in a post-pandemic world. We were forced to make difficult choices and had to pivot in some ways from how we had supported our community over the past 2+ years. We had to face the reality that although the pandemic was “over,” more families still need help than before the pandemic because of the economy – but now, we must do it without the additional support and resources that came during this difficult time.

I also could never adequately express in one blog, my immense gratitude, humility, and overwhelming joy that I have for our team, community, and network, which has stood with us, stared down every challenge, facing it head on, and found solutions to really hard questions – turning lemons, into lemonade at every turn.

This year, I am grateful – so genuinely thankful for everyone who has been on this journey.

To our team, your resilience, grace, commitment, and focus on doing everything we can for our community while rebuilding our team and building strong relationships with one another have genuinely been a marvel to witness.

To our board – your guidance, support, and willingness to roll up your sleeves when we asked for resources and strategic insight has been incredible. We are so appreciative of your time, your service, and your commitment to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

To our partners – your patience, flexibility, understanding, and partnership, in addition to your incredible work in your communities, is inspiring. You have asked hard questions and challenged us in new ways, and I hope you know how proud we are to work with you as we strengthen our region, one family and neighbor at a time.

To our donors – your generosity and support amidst economic uncertainty is genuinely something to behold. This year, we have struggled and will continue to face challenges at every turn. However, you are answering our calls, letters, emails and texts. You are giving generously and from the heart – please know that your support is never taken for granted and truly allows us to do what we do. We cannot do this work without you.

To our volunteers – to the hundreds of volunteers that come to our facility in Bridgeton every week, some for the first time, some as recurring supporters, we are energized by your commitment and capacity to answer our call to help us feed our neighbors. Your stamina keeps us on our toes, and we hope you truly know what an integral part of our organization you are – every day.

Again, this holiday season, we are asking our community to “Share the Holidays” with someone else this year. While we like to think we have plans for our futures, we truly do not know, nor can we always control what our futures may bring. From a change in employment status to a critical illness – life is precious, life is a gift, and so my Christmas wish this year is that if you are reading this, you will reach out to someone – a friend, a family member, or even a stranger– and find a way to be the light for them this holiday season. Find a way to bring joy, peace, and love into the lives of others – with no expectation of receiving anything in return. That is truly a gift – and if we all commit to doing this at least once this holiday season, it will be, the most wonderful time of the year!

May you and your families have a happy, healthy, and hearty holiday season!

Meredith

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