As an adult I have been asked to support many causes by donning their colors: camouflage for veterans, pink for breast cancer awareness, and red for heart health. These days I find myself wearing a new color, one that may not be as widely known, but should be: ORANGE.
Orange is the color to wear in September for Hunger Action Month. I must woefully admit that even I was not in sync with this prior to my arrival at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, but I am hopeful that together we can find new ways to raise awareness around the issues of food insecurity and hunger relief right here in our bi-state region.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank is part of a network of 200 food banks across the nation that ensure that literally every county from coast to coast is served and supported by a food bank (remember, there is a difference between a food BANK and a food PANTRY! If you need a refresher, read my earlier blogs!) That is the good news – there is literally nowhere that you can go from sea to shining sea and not find support through a Feeding America affiliated food bank. The bad news is that in our land of plenty, there is still such a huge need for this network. I, for one, am grateful to all the men and women that are part of this network – from our amazing staff to our incredible volunteers, the men and women who serve on the board of directors, along with the companies, businesses, individuals, and foundations that support us financially. It really is a powerful team driven by a desire to create a stronger, healthier bi-state region where no one goes to bed hungry.
This month there are many events and campaigns to support Hunger Action Month and I would encourage everyone to visit our website www.stlfoodbank.org/HAM for a full list of ways to get involved, including: special events, our inaugural STL Chefs Against Hunger dining out campaign, special volunteer opportunities, and much more. We’ve tried to make it easy with our “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar that gives you daily activities to show your support. Many of them don’t cost a thing other than a few minutes of your time. This is TONS of fun to participate in with family and friends! I will also ask you to wear orange and take photos. Tag them with #HungerActionMonth and #HungryForChange. Challenge everyone you know to be part of the solution!
During the month of September, I would LOVE to “paint the region orange” but since there is not enough physical paint to do that and I would probably get into a lot of trouble, I will resist the urge. However, when you see the color orange, know that it represents creativity, encouragement and determination. I know that our team at the St Louis Area Foodbank has creatively found ways to encourage everyone to help us raise awareness during Hunger Action Month, and we are determined to make a difference! Now I challenge everyone across our 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois to help us start something – a movement, a spark, a light that shines bright – so that everyone knows and understands what we know all too well: hunger can affect anyone, but anyone can affect hunger.