STL Food Bank offers a lifeline for the hungry

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Hunger is real for thousands of families. The St. Louis Area Food Bank continues to meet the challenge of feeding the needy throughout the bi-state region.

When looking for a decent meal, the homeless, the unemployed, and the underemployed will often visit area soup kitchens and pantries, many of which are supported by the St. Louis Area Food Bank.

“The food bank covers 26 counties total and we have a little over 500 agencies that we serve. Many of which are run by volunteers,” said Ryan Farmer, St. Louis Area Food Bank. “These are people who are just trying to do something in their community to make it a little better place.”

You'll find some of those good people volunteering at the food bank warehouse, boxing food for distribution. To meet the need, the St. Louis Area Food Bank processes about three million pounds of food in less than a month.

“If you’re not getting enough food at home or the right types of food, it can really put you at a disadvantage,” Farmer said. “Chances are, if you’re going hungry, there’s a number of things stacked against you.”

On the loading dock is a pick-up for City Temple Assembly of God Church in Granite City, Illinois. Each month, approximately 500 to 700 families visit the church run pantry.

“Not only do I pick up food here, but the food bank is responsible for me having three other retail stores that we pick up from,” said Joe Pearman, who runs the pantry.

Area grocery stores are part of the food bank's network of donors. The food bank will pay farmers for harvesting and transporting fresh produce. The federal government is another invaluable resource.

“We’re the only distributor for USDA food in the area,” Farmer said “We receive an allotment of food based on the number of people living in poverty in our 26 county service territory.”

And there are the familiar food drives run by the Boy Scouts and mail carriers every year. Not to mention, random cash donations; none of it goes to waste.

“There’s about 476,000 people living in our counties that are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Farmer said.

If you’d like to be part of the Spirit of St. Louis, visit Fox2Now.com or KPLR11.com and visit the “Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car” option at the top of the home page. You can consider donating to one of three charities in the area: the St. Louis Area Food Bank; Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis; or BackStoppers. A $10 donation to one or all of these charities gives you a chance at winning a brand-new car, truck, or SUV from the Bommarito Automotive Group.

Visit Fox 2’s Spirit of St. Louis donation page online for more information.