12/14/2012 by | Comments (0)
Patrick Delhougne accepts a check on behalf of the St. Louis Area Foodbank from Sammy Hagar / Photo by Ryan Farmer
Remember When Bob Dylan Made a Christmas Album?
Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down memory lane. . .
Ah, yes. With the holidays comes all those great songs we have loved since childhood.
Winter Wonderland, Here Comes Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, Must Be Santa and so on.
A long list of musical artists have covered or created holiday music in the last century. On that list is the great Bob Dylan.
In 2009, Dylan released an album called Christmas at Heart, with proceeds benefitting hunger relief charities all over the world.
That got me thinking about the ways that musicians have supported important causes. I wondered what other musical artists have supported hunger relief.
So, I casually started a list. It’s certainly not comprehensive nor is the list subject to one particular musical style.
Artists have encouraged fans to bring non-perishable items to concerts, donated a portion of proceeds from album sales, or served on entertainment councils. Check out the diverse group of artists who have supported hunger relief:
• Bob Dylan
• Bruce Springsteen
• Tom Waits
• Rough Shop
• Widespread Panic
• Bryan Greenberg
• Bon Jovi
• Tim McGraw
• Kenny Rodgers
• Willie Nelson
• Brad Paisley
• Miranda Lambert
• Lady Antebellum
• Zac Brown Band
• Toby Keith
• Jason Aldean
• The Urge
• Kenny Chesney
• Def Leppard
• Sara Bareilles
• Toby Keith
• Rascal Flats
• Reba McEntire
• Martina McBride
• The Band Perry
• Eli Young Band
• Justin Moore
• Brantley Gilbert
• Sunny Sweeney
• Eden’s Edge
• Ella Mae Bowen
• Thomas Rhett
• 50 Cent
• Sheryl Crow
• Spencer Day
• Josh Groban
• Ben Harper
• Kimberly Locke
• Jay Sean
• Katharine McPhee
• Benji & Joel Madden
• Phil Vassar
• Kellie Pickler
Even local musicians and bands jump at the chance to give back to the community.
Just this weekend, for instance, three locals bands – Million Hits, Lunar Levitation and Four Feet Skyscraper – will be performing at Cicero’s in St. Louis. The bands are asking everyone attending their Saturday concert to bring canned goods for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Someone once said that music could heal the world. Judging by the generosity of musicians in and around St. Louis, it seems that just might be true.
Patrick Delhougne is a development associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank
12/12/2012 by | Comments (0)
The holidays are a busy time for most of us.
There are presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake and the tree to trim.
Sure, it is a joyful season, but it is also a fast-paced time filled with lots of stress.
One of the most stressful things about the holidays is that many of us have to worry if we will be able to afford all the things we want to do as a family and all the gifts we hope to give.
No, Christmas isn't all about the presents. But gift-giving is an integral part of the season.
So for those of us who are trying to stick to a holiday budget, we here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank have come up with a few wallet-friendly ideas.
With the help of our Pinterest page, we have come up with this list. Please feel free to comment below and offer your own suggestions!
Things to Do with the Family during the Holidays
• Load the family into the car and take a drive through your community to look at Christmas lights. Print out an I Spy list for the kids, giving them special things to look for during the drive. Here’s a great one.
• Let the kids make ornaments with items from around the house like popsicle stick! Check out these cute sleds! Or, make the cute ornaments above using cookie cutters and homemade salt dough!
• Write letters and make cards for soldiers who can’t be with their families during the holidays. Here’s where to send them.
• Gather the neighbors together and pick a night to go caroling around the neighborhood.
• Bake cookies together as a family. No need to be fancy, buy affordable cookie mixes or ingredients at the local dollar store.
• Take the whole family to the FREE light display at Our Lady of the Snows National Shrine. The Way of Lights is magical! Plus, you can visit the Christmas Tree Room, wreath and Lego displays and experience the fun in the Children's Village and puppet show!
• Volunteer together as a family. St. Louis has many, many charities who may need your help during the holiday season! Here’s a great list of places from the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
• Sit together and read holiday stories. Here’s a list of holiday books for kids.
• Have a holiday movie night with your favorite shows. Make a big pot of hot chocolate to sip during the movie! Here’s a site where you can watch 101 holiday movies online!
• Make DIY gifts for the entire family. These can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. You can make almost anything from items around the house. Just a few ideas: a candle luminary out of an old tin can; handmade wreaths; bird seed ornaments; and Christmas décor from old wine bottles. Get more ideas on our Pinterest page.
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank
12/08/2012 by | Comments (0)
St. Louis Rams General Manager Les Snead signs an autograph for a young fan / Photo by Dave Preston
When Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations for the St. Louis Rams, announced they would be hiring Les Snead as the team’s general manager, he said, “…We think with him (Snead) and Jeff (Fisher) running our football operations, we have a chance for sustained success."*
After the 10th annual Taste of the NFL event on Monday night, I’d be willing to bet that representatives from the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the St. Louis Sports Commission have similar feelings.
If Snead decides to continue chairing the St. Louis Taste of the NFL, as he did this year for the first time, this event has a strong chance for sustained success, just like the Rams.
Taste of the NFL organizers could not have planned a better set of circumstances. On Sunday, the Rams played NFC West Division leaders, the San Francisco 49ers. The game ended dramatically with rookie kicker Greg Zuerlien booting a 54-yard field goal to give the Rams a 16 – 13 win in overtime.
The victory pushed the Rams to 4-0-1 within the division. They’ve already more than doubled their win total from a year ago.
The next night at the Taste of the NFL, more than 20 Rams players showed up at the Foodbank to sign autographs, mingle with guests and sample food from St. Louis area restaurants. When it was time to introduce them to the crowd from the stage, Snead had a funny story or special memory about each player.
Joined by his wife, former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson Snead, the couple showed good chemistry while reliving draft day stories with some of the team’s rookies and enjoying a laugh about locker room pranks pulled off by some of the veteran players.
Veteran defensive end Chris Long seemed to have involvement in the majority of the pranks. Despite Sneads’ story-telling, Long claims to have “no idea” how 3,000 live crickets and more than 50,000 packing peanuts ended up in teammate James Laurinaitis’ vehicle after a long day of practicing.
All of this made for a great evening for those in attendance and a successful fundraiser for the St. Louis Sports Commission and the Foodbank.
In his short time with the team, Snead has earned the respect of the Rams’ players. On Monday, that respect was very evident by the player turnout to support their general manager in his first year as event captain.
With the money raised that night, the Foodbank will be able to provide more than 140,000 meals for hungry families throughout the bi-state region.
When a family gathers around their kitchen table tonight to eat a meal prepared with food they received from the St. Louis Area Foodbank, they can thank Rams players and personnel like Cortland Finnegan, Robert Quinn and of course, Les Snead for helping to make the Taste of the NFL a resounding success - one that will hopefully be sustained for years to come.
CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES FROM THE NIGHT
* = Quote was orginally published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Ryan Farmer is the communications manager for the St. Louis Area Foodbank
11/30/2012 by | Comments (0)
Volunteers load a vehicle with groceries at a recent Food Fair in Louisiana, Mo. / Photo by Bethany Prange
When you think of small towns, it’s easy to picture the Americana image portrayed in good country songs.
Just take a drive through a rural farming town, and you’ll likely see the quaint downtown square, the little white church, and the barber shop where everybody knows your name.
What you won’t see – at least as a casual passerby – is the struggle that many small town families face. Just like their urban counterparts, rural families face issues like hunger and poverty.
While the “country image” may add a veil of old-world charm to the strife faced by rural families, it doesn’t make living in poverty any easier for the men, women and children who deal with it every day.
In Louisiana, Mo., a rural town with a population of almost 3,800 people, the reality of hunger and poverty is evident.
Like many small towns, Louisiana is far from an urban metropolis. While this is good for those wanting to live the country life, it can make getting every day necessities a challenge. Rural families rely on the assets of their own communities to get by.
So when the only grocery store in Louisiana closed recently, it left many families wondering how they’d be able to buy food. The nearest store is now 20 miles away, and for many, the extra gas needed to get there is not in the budget.
If a store closes in an urban community rich with dozens of places to buy groceries, it doesn’t necessarily make a huge impact. But in a small town where many families don’t even have access to a reliable car, the closing of the only store can mean the difference between having food and going hungry.
Another issue presented by rural living is a lack of social service agencies. In St. Louis, families in need literally have hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs to help them get through tough times.
In a rural community though, there may be only one food pantry in the entire county.
While we can’t solve the problems faced by rural families, the St. Louis Area Foodbank wants to help as much as possible. When we learned of the grocery store closing in Louisiana, we knew we had to provide families in need with some extra help.
This Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, we delivered more than 32,000 pounds of food to Louisiana, Mo. With the help of our partner agency there, Heart to Heart Community Outreach, we gave that food to almost 150 families in need.
Despite the chill in the air, families in need lined up hours ahead of time, waiting for their turn. Students from Louisiana High School helped load cars with potatoes, meat, bread and baby food.
In just three hours, all that food went to rural families who desperately need it.
Foodbank staff are glad we could provide some relief to this small town, even if our efforts can’t solve all the problems of rural life.
We hope another grocery store will consider opening in Louisiana soon.
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank
11/28/2012 by | Comments (0)
Volunteers help bag food at a recent mobile distribution in Warren County / Photo by Bethany Prange
As we celebrate another holiday season, many of us are consumed with thoughts of family gatherings and the scrumptious feast that lies ahead of us.
Visions of turkeys, hams, roasts, side dishes, casseroles, dinner rolls and pies dance through our heads and leave us fully anticipating days when we can stuff our bellies and drift off into a turkey-induced slumber.
But for some members of our community, the only vision that can be seen this holiday season, and every other day of the year, is that of an empty table, scarce food and very little reason for celebration.
Those who suffer from mental illness, have fallen on hard times or live in poverty are struggling to survive day-to-day. These individuals often find the holidays an added source of stress and anxiety.
Not only does daily life create challenges that seem insurmountable but getting through each day seems to take every ounce of energy they can muster.
As parents, they are faced with the challenge of providing not just enough food to feed their children, but finding access to nourishing food that will help their children live fuller, healthier lives.
Unfortunately, many of the families that participate in Crider Health Center’s programs and services struggle to meet life’s most basic necessities. They struggle to put enough food on their tables to sustain their family.
This holiday season, Crider Health Center joined forces with the St. Louis Area Foodbank to provide nourishing, health-conscious food to 80 families in Warren County. We were honored to provide this service for families who needed an added dose of hope this holiday season.
Luckily, this partnership isn’t one that will fade when the holidays have come and gone - it is a gift that will keep giving and providing for Warren County families for years to come.
Without the generosity of the St. Louis Area Foodbank and their donors, many Crider families would not have the ability to put a healthy meal on their tables, much less an entire holiday feast.
But through this newly formed partnership, our Warren County families have a reason to celebrate, a reason to smile, and one more reason to have HOPE for the future.
Pam Imboden is the Marketing and Development Manager at Crider Health Center