COVID-19 Regional Response Fund Grantee Spotlight: St. Louis Area Foodbank
The St. Louis Area Foodbank, a well-established, generously supported nonprofit organization, has been serving the region for 45 years, supplying food to those who need it in Missouri and Illinois. In mid-March 2020, “We had to change our entire operation in less than 24 hours,” says Derek May, Director of Philanthropy.
Food distribution, always a need, became a critical resource for people most impacted by the COVID pandemic. With rising unemployment, traditional distribution center operations disrupted, and partner agencies facing a shortage of volunteers, St. Louis Area Foodbank came at the issue from several angles. “Our network remained strong and we were able to develop solutions quickly,” said Derek. “We kept telling ourselves, first and foremost, we have to take care of people, and the funding will come.”
Already a partner of the St. Louis Community Foundation, the Foodbank looped the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund in to their 3-pronged approach to the crisis: strengthen the network, increase operations, reach out to new partners and distribution models.
The need they have met is astounding. Between March 16 and November 2020, they have distributed 36,377,320 meals, a 46% increase over the entire year of 2019. And the need continues to grow, as the pandemic drags on and more people become unemployed or sick. With its partners, the Foodbank is ready. “This made us stretch our minds, challenged us and showed us where we are vulnerable,” says Derek. “As we look to the future, we know this situation will only help us serve more and serve better.”
To learn more about St. louis Area Foodbank, visit their website at stlfoodbank.org.