Everyday St. Louis Area Foodbank empowers people with food and hope across the bi-state region. We’ve partnered with more than 60 new groups (adding to the more than 550 partners we already work with) since the pandemic struck in March. From March through May 2020, the amount of food we distributed increased by more than 3.2 million pounds compared to the same timeframe the year prior and it’s not slowing down. More people from more socioeconomic backgrounds are in need of food, this being more than we’ve seen in our 45-year history.
During the pandemic, it has been a little tougher to interact one-on-one with clients but we’re still hearing their stories. Stories of hope, thanks, desperation, and love.
More than one person has wept
An associate pastor at Fee Fee Baptist Church shared that a couple of hours prior to their Mobile Market opening he struck up a conversation with a woman in her car waiting. “We won’t start for a couple of more hours,” he said. With tears in her eyes, she told him she never imagined she’d be in this position to need help and she’d been to another Mobile Market the week prior and that they had run out of food before she was able to receive any.
While cleaning up after a Mobile Market in Hardin, IL, one more driver in a truck crept up to where the line of 150-plus motorists had wound their way through the previous hour. Staff and volunteers that were still there looked at her sheepishly, as there was no food left. She rolled down her window and said she didn’t want anything, that she’d come back to thank us. With tears welling in her eyes, she said, “I came through earlier to pick up food for my parents. They’re 86 and 89 and when I arrived with the food they began to cry. I just wanted you to know. Thank you.”
Matter of Fact
“I learned that sometimes I need help and when I do I ask for it.”
“It helps so much. I don’t know what some of us would do without it.”
“If you need help, it’s great.”
“Means a lot. While waiting on food stamps, this helps get me through the week.”
“I hear several times a day how much this helps out,” said one of the volunteers at Jersey Township Food Pantry.
One of the coordinators at Victory Church in Pevely shared that as she spoke to people, “I heard a lot more desperation than I have the last few weeks. People are not sure what their new normal is going to look like.”
John Bowman of NAACP has heard families say “this is carrying us through the week” and that “without this effort, they were not sure how they could feed their families.”
A team member from Mission St. Louis said that “one of the ladies shared pictures of the food she has been able to make with some of the ingredients we’ve provided her.”
“It seems as no one cares for them, so this has been a blessing to our community,” said Pastor Jevon Mann of the Original Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
Mounds of gratefulness, thank-yous, and all the other appreciative sentiments have been heaped upon volunteers at every Mobile Market.
We, too, want to say thank you to all of our partners, their volunteers and staff, as well as our own volunteers and staff, for stepping up to fight hunger and feed hope.