Serving 14 counties in Missouri and 12 in Illinois, the St. Louis Food Area Bank distributed 42 million pounds of food last year.
To put that into perspective, the St. Louis Arch weighs 38,631,040 pounds. OR if you put that into Ford F-150s, you would have to ship out 10,321 before it would equal the same amount of weight. There’s no denying that’s a lot of food. And there’s no denying it helps a lot of people in the area.
Saturday was my first day at the Food Bank. It was our annual KMOX day to volunteer.
The place was oddly quiet. With a lot of storage in the back and aisles of stored food, it was humbling to think that not even that amount of food can touch the need in our community.
For a few hours, we packaged boxes for seniors. I was at the end of the assembly line and only saw a few items that were on the top: Powdered milk, apple juice and a piece of paper with information on how to stay hydrated. From there I closed the box, taped it and pushed it down the line to be stacked.
The food would be stored and eventually transported to local shelters, pantries and organizations to be given to those in need. I don’t know who exactly will be on the receiving ends, but we know they are mothers and fathers, senior citizens and children, your neighbors, the people you pass on the sidewalk, the people driving next to you on the highway, the people in front of you or behind you in line at the gas station, and your kids friends who you find coming over often around dinner time.
You can’t stereotype a face of hunger — it’s everywhere and holds no prejudice.
In the past, I’ve helped food banks and have heard of the life saving good it hands out every day. Not everyone wants help, but eating is not an option. If you haven’t visited before, I would recommend learning more and checking them out.
If you wanted to learn just one thing about what they do, it’s that a lot of people want to help AND you live in a very giving community. Private and corporate donors come together to make sure if someone is hungry, they will have an option other than going without meals.
But more importantly, there’s no way to do any of this alone. If you’re part of a group that is looking to volunteer, give them a call. They’ll make it easy and your work will not be in vain.