07/24/2013 by | Comments (0)
"I can't wait to find a job and go to work."- Gwen Gore
Gwen Gore began volunteering at her neighborhood food pantry three years ago, long before she ever needed help herself.
Gwen, 51, worked full-time as a clerical worker at a St. Louis hospital for the last 11 years, so she could only devote a few hours a month to helping hand out food at Jeremiah’s Food Pantry in East St. Louis.
When she suddenly lost her job at the hospital, Gwen decided to commit herself to volunteering until she could find another job. She now volunteers at Jeremiah’s Food Pantry every week.
“I’m a member of this church and they needed help,” Gwen says. “This is a good opportunity for me to give back.”
The pantry is open the first Thursday of the month, and every Wednesday after that.
On one chilly Thursday in February, we met at the pantry, where the St. Louis Area Foodbank had just delivered a truckload of frozen chickens and fresh mushrooms, broccoli and collard greens.
Dozens of families in need flocked to the pantry, excited to find fresh vegetables and meat.
“We had more people than we’ve ever had last month,” Gwen says. “Today, we’ve had 100 people since we opened at 2 p.m.”
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07/19/2013 by | Comments (0)
This guest post is by Tracy A. Barfield, PAS,
Novus Global Marketing Communications Executive Manager
I like to help and I believe in giving back. As a result I get roped into committees, like the Food Drive Committee. And, because I simply can’t help myself I start saying things like, “What was last year’s goal?” “Why can’t we beat that?” and getting all pushy and driving to topics like employee engagement and participation in helping our community and keeping it in line with our vision at Novus. And if you are looking for ways to get past “giving fatigue” and meet your goals with a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event I have some ideas for you.
- Keep it inclusive and invite committee members from all parts of your organization. We have great success when we get representatives from Accounting, Marketing, Legal, Research, Operations, etc. all working cross functionally together and more creative ideas are generated by getting folks out of their daily roles.
- Set a realistic goal. Lofty objectives beyond the capabilities of your giving base actually serve as a disincentive potential volunteers and givers. We took our total goal and broke it down in $20 increments for giving suggestions. Our total goal for the 2013 Food Drive was $4,000 from employee giving.
- Make it personal. We chose the St. Louis Area Foodbank because of all the good it does in our local area. The St. Louis Area Foodbank began serving the community in 1975. It has grown into the bi-state region’s largest nonprofit 501c3 food distributions center dedicated to feeding those in need.
Independence from Summer Hunger- The St. Louis Area Foodbank had recently reported that 148,730 children in the local bi-state region were at risk of summer hunger due to the lack of subsidized school meals during the months of summer vacation. The Novus Food Drive Committee took that message to heart and focused the entire theme of our giving efforts on “Independence from Summer Hunger.”
Thinking Globally/ Acting Locally —Statement of Opinion/Solution—
We’re fortunate to work for a company that has a well-defined vision To help feed the world affordable, wholesome food and achieve a higher quality of life.Tthe Food Drive ties directly to our global thinking, while enabling us to act locally to help the communities where we are headquartered.
From June 25th through July 9th Novus International headquarters employees gave over $4,000 in monetary contributions and 69 lbs. of food donations surpassing our goal. That translated to 37,444 for the bi-state region, when the Novus match was added in to total $10,000 donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
It’s simple, really. –For more ways to help out the St. Louis Area Foodbank check out www.STLFoodbank.org and start a food drive or fundraiser of your own. The focused contribution of a workforce together can make a world of difference on hunger in our community. I love that we surpassed our goal, and would love to hear stories from other organizations on how they help too.
07/17/2013 by | Comments (0)
Earlier this summer, I surprised my six-year-old with a cool idea I discovered on the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s Pinterest page.
When he woke up on a particularly hot morning, I told him that somehow, overnight, Darth Vader had snuck into our house and used a freeze ray on Hans Solo and all the other Star Wars good guys.
Our son, who is a huge Star Wars fan, was super excited – and a little mad at Darth Vader – when I showed him that all his Jedi knights were frozen in blocks of ice in our freezer.
He spent several hours that afternoon playing barefoot in the backyard. He had to “rescue” his good guys by shooting the ice blocks with water. It was a fun and cool activity for a hot summer day.
If your kids are bored on these hot summer days, give this a try! Here at the Foodbank, we know how hard it is to keep the kiddos entertained when you’re on a tight budget. But all kids deserve a fun summer!
So try out one of the many free and cheap ideas on our For the Kids page on Pinterest!
07/12/2013 by | Comments (0)
Here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank we have been talking a lot about a new Feeding America initiative called "Foods to Encourage.” The program will launch later this year, and will help organizations like ours focus even more on the quality of the food we distribute, in addition to the quantity of food we distribute to people in need. The new program will follow the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: My Plate structure.
This got me thinking about what I was putting on my own plate. I have always been a pretty healthy eater, but I was still eating more processed foods than I should. In the past, I have used fitness apps to track what I’m eating. But even the best of those apps seemed to fall short when it came rating the nutritional quality of the food I was eating. Most only reported some nutritional values and a calorie count. While they encourage me to eat less, they didn't actually encourage me to eat more of the whole fresh foods recommended by the USDA.
Then I discover the Fooducate app in a tweet by A Place at the Table Movie. The Fooducate app was exactly what I had been looking for and best of all it was free. This app grades each food based on its nutritional content. With just a few clicks on my phone, Fooducate reports not just how many calories a food item has, but also if it is actually providing your body with the nutrients and fuel it needs to thrive.
You can customize the app to grade food based on a variety of options, such as allergies you may have to nuts or gluten, or whether you’re hoping to stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Like the other nutrition apps I have used in the past, you can log your excercise and weight to keep track of your progress. This handy feature helps keep you motivated. Watch Fooducate's video.
The only cons with the app is that it lacks two main features of most nutrition apps; social integration and a desktop version.
The app is available for both IPhones and Android.
Allison Jones is the website and design coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
07/10/2013 by | Comments (0)
The Dave Matthews Band hits St. Louis tonight, July 10, 2013, with their summer 2013 tour!
This legendary band will not only provide a night of great live music at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, but they'll also be fighting hunger and promoting environmental awareness.
The Dave Matthews Band has partnered with REVERB, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in a massive endeavor called the BamaGreen Project. Locally, they're partnering with us here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank!
"The BamaGreen partnership between REVERB, Dave Matthews Band and IZSTYLE began almost 10 years ago, in 2006," says Paige Roth, volunteer coordinator at REVERB. "In the past we have coordinated coat drives and promoted other causes; this is the first summer focused specifically on food issues."
At tonight's concert in St. Louis, Dave Matthews Band will ask fans to bring non-perishable food donations to the show. The St. Louis Area Foodbank will be there to collect food donations outside the main gates.
Once inside the gates, fans can support the Foodbank and hunger relief at the Eco-Village by purchasing a custom Dave Matthews Band basil seed packet for $5.
The Foodbank will use that $5 donation to purchase local produce for St. Louis-area families in need. It's a great partnership all around!
"Fighting food insecurity and promoting local agriculture are issues that are important to both the Dave Matthews Band and REVERB," Roth says. "We are excited because this program will connect food resources for people in need with local agriculture, in a meaningful way."
Ways you can get involved:
- Donate non-perishable food items at the concert
- Carpool to the show
- Visit the Eco-Village at the show
- Buy food from your local farms as often as possible
- Connect with the St. Louis Area Foodbank to donate or volunteer
BamaGreen Project is an on-going partnership between Dave Matthews Band, Reverb and IZSTYLE. It encompasses all of the environmental efforts undertaken by the band while on the road, in the studio or at home. In addition to working with the band, the BamaGreen Project is also dedicated to educating DMB fans around the world about how to take simple positive environmental actions.
REVERB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner of Guster. Reverb provides turn-key greening programs for artists' tours while conducting grassroots outreach and education with music fans everywhere.
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.