ST. LOUIS – Cities across St. Louis County are collecting food and cleaning supplies Saturday for families in need.
It’s called the Mayors for Meals program, supported by St. Louis County mayors and sponsored by the St. Louis Area Foodbank. They are accepting donations to the food bank then distributing to families in need across the bi-state region.
Just two years into her tenure as Clayton mayor, Michelle Harris is happy for the collaboration on the Mayors for Meals program she helped create.
“I think during the pandemic especially. That’s what motivated us to start this program,” said Harris. “I know that the need is still great for so many.”
“We’re doing our second annual Mayors for Meals food drive,” Meredith Knopp, President & CEO St. Louis Area Foodbank said. “This actually started last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and this year has expanded to over 30 municipalities around the St. Louis region.”
According to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, over the last year due to the pandemic, the need for food assistance has increased by 46% and is expected to remain at that current elevated level.
For the second year in a row, with assistance from the Municipal League of Metropolitan Saint Louis, mayors from 30 municipalities are asking their neighbors to collect food and resources for the St. Louis area foodbank to distribute.
“All Covid friendly of course. Now with the new CDC rules we can be outside without masks,” said Harris. “We set it up so people just basically drive through and someone grabs the food out of the trunk and puts it in the barrel.”
Saturday morning, communities like Pine Lawn, Brentwood, and Florissant along with 27 others collected items from 9 a.m. until noon. Canned goods, cleaning supplies, and non-perishable items all going to families in need in St. Louis.
“We’re going to have our friends at the National Guard put it in their trucks and drive it back to our facility in Bridgeton,” says Knopp. “Then our volunteers are going through and making sure everything is safe and fresh and not open. Then they’re going to put it in boxes and we’re going to start distributing it next week across our network of agencies. We have 600 partners across the 26 counties that we serve. So think of your food pantries, soup kitchens, transitional housing shelters. They’re all going to benefit from today’s event.”
If you missed today’s event but would like to help, visit www.stlfoodbank.org to find out more on how to donate food items, non-perishables or even donating your time to help the St. Louis Area Foodbank.