A truck from the St. Louis Area Food Bank makes a delivery at a rural southern Illinois church that was holding a food fair for low-income residents.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2010 File photo
  • Cans of soup.
  • Diapers.
  • Cash to buy gas to keep the trucks running.

The holiday wish list for St. Louis agencies that assist the hungry is long and never-ending because what comes in, soon goes out -- and the shelves need to be filled again.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

It takes just a moment to hand a child a sack lunch, but it is THE moment -- the one that matters – for the volunteers with Twigs, a program that feeds children from financially struggling families in the summertime in Granite City.

You’ll find the volunteers in their bright yellow shirts at 11 designated spots -- street corners, parks and churches -- from 11:30 to 12:30, Monday through Friday, rain or shine, starting the day after school lets out for summer vacation and until it opens again.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Public Library has renewed a popular program for forgiving overdue book fines.

All through July, adult card holders with late fines can pay with food. Every can or box brought in will knock a dollar off of their fines up to $25. The food goes to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

The St. Louis Public Library started Food For Fines in 2008. The library's communications coordinator John Koniak said they’ve been amazed at the reaction.

(via flickr/Victor Bezrukov)

While the holidays mean an abundance of food for many of us, a rising percentage of Missourians worry about whether they’ll have enough food.

Based on 2010 data, 837,056 Missourians are not sure whether they will have sufficient food for the month.

Of those residents, 343,253 will likely skip meals or serve smaller portions to stretch food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls these measures of “food insecurity” and “very low food insecurity.”

(via Flikr/NAVFAC)

According to a report released in September by the University of Missouri-Columbia, the percent of people who have inadequate access to food rose more in Missouri than in any other state in the nation from 2000 to 2010.

Approximately 1.3 million Missourians are currently classified as "food insecure." About 400,000 Missourians experience hunger.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

Students and workers from several schools and businesses assembled at John Burroughs School to assemble food packages for people in need in the country of Tanzania and St. Louis city today, as part of an event held by nonprofit St. Louis World Food Day

The event was held in honor of World Food Day, which was created by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The cause is being led by Don Soffer, a high school senior at John Burroughs. The 17-year-old is trying to both alleviate hunger and change how others think about it. 

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the number of Missouri households threatened by hunger has grown over the past three years.

While the national average shows 14.7 percent of American homes had low or very low food security between 2010 and 2012, Missouri's average is 16.7 percent, or about one out of six households.  That's up from 15 percent during the 2007-2009 survey period.  Glenn Koenen is Hunger Task Force Chair for the Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

(Photo Courtesy: Neighborhood Houses)

When settlement houses were founded in the United States in the late 19th century, the idea was for educated middle-class or upper-class individuals to settle in impoverished areas, and through their influence and resources help lift their neighbors out of poverty.

Perhaps the most famous American Settlement House was Chicago's  Hull House, founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star in 1889.

Flickr | USACEpublicaffairs | file photo

The number of people who do not have enough food in the United States is a serious problem.

Information from the United States Department of Agriculture in 2011 shows:

  • 50.1 million people in the United States live in food insecure households
  • 33.5 million are adults
  • 16.7 million are children
  • 14.9% of all U.S. households are food insecure

Host Don Marsh talked with guests about the food crisis nationally as well as locally.

His guests were:

(via Facebook/The Bridge St. Louis)

On the last Sunday in June, The Bridge – a social service agency operated out of Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown St. Louis – served its 750,000th  meal.

Volunteers dished out just over 6,000 meals in 2006, the first year The Bridge was open. Last year, more than 171,000 people accepted a free hot meal.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann sat down with Kathleen Wilder, the pastor at Centenary and the executive director of The Bridge, to reflect on what it means that so many people are in need.

Flickr Creative Commons user Victim Public


As many Missourians wrap up a weekend marked by celebration and plenty, somewhere near 16% of the state's population struggles with food insecurity.