The St. Louis Beacon ran a series last week describing the work being done by local organizations to feed struggling residents in the St. Louis region. The reports tell inspiring stories of motivated volunteers alongside sobering facts about families who are unable to reliably put food on the table.
The first installment of the series highlights the efforts of Good News Baptist Church in Jennings. Several days a week, a team of church volunteers makes the early-morning drive to the St. Louis Area Foodbank to retrieve all the food they can cram into their cars. As you can imagine, Good News has never been concerned about having too much food to give. The church has observed the need grow as the economy has worsened, and it has served many families who never imagined they would seek the help of a food pantry.
The sheer bulk of food distribution is staggering. Last year, Good News gave out 341,673 pounds of food. This is only a small portion of the 22 million pounds of food distributed by the St. Louis Area Foodbank to 261,000 people. Of those assisted, 39% are children. Even more remarkable, these massive efforts are fueled mostly by donations and unpaid volunteers. The Beacon makes a point of highlighting the enthusiasm of the workers at Good News. The group certainly owes much of its success to the kindness of its members and their ability to create a comfortable environment where everyone feels welcome.
Organizations such as the foodbank must face bleak realities each day, yet it is uplifting to consider the success they have at mobilizing volunteers and helping those who need it most. Especially in these hard times, it is refreshing to see the charitable spirit of St. Louis. As part of the series, the Beacon posted a list of ways residents can help in the battle against hunger. Check it out to see how you can contribute.