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Bayer Fund and St. Louis Area Food Bank Partner to Launch Pilot Food Initiative to Support Students and Families Impacted by Hunger
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer, has awarded a $90,000 grant to the St. Louis Area Foodbank to support its new School Food Markets program, a pilot initiative aimed at helping students and families in the Cahokia, Ill. and Jennings, Mo. school districts combat hunger and food insecurity.
The School Food Markets program will be operated by the Foodbank and located within Fairview Elementary School and the Jennings Educational Training School in Jennings and at the Power of Change Family Multiplex in Cahokia. Through its various relationships within the food industry, the Foodbank will furnish each market with a selection of fresh foods and staple grocery items for students and their families at no cost.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Bayer Fund, along with the Jennings and Cahokia School Districts on this exciting initiative," said Meredith Knopp, St. Louis Area Foodbank President and CEO. "We believe that by giving students access to these School Food Markets, we can increase class attendance, decrease the number of trips to the school nurse's office and help contribute to healthier futures for every child in our community."
A recent study issued by the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that 11 percent of all U.S. households were food insecure in 2018; of that number, seven percent included families with children. Households identified as food insecure either lacked resources or found it difficult to provide enough nutritious and adequate food for all family members.
"Hunger is a faceless reality and stigma for many students and their families," said Al Mitchell, Vice President of Corporate Engagement for Bayer. "Our support of the School Food Markets ensures families within the St. Louis region have access to a variety of healthy food items within a familiar environment."
For now, more than 1,900 students in the Cahokia and Jennings school districts will be served by the School Food Markets. Students receive snacks during the day and parents will be given a full bag of groceries to take home. Once the program expands to other schools in both districts, it's estimated that nearly 5,000 students and their families will be participants. Within the Cahokia School District, the School Food Markets are an extension of the Beyond the Bell program that was introduced earlier this year in January, which serves breakfast items to students when their school day begins.
"We are thrilled to open our school market. Our goal is to eliminate hunger as an obstacle to education success," said Tanya Mitchell, Superintendent of Cahokia, Ill. Unit School District 187. "Establishing this district hub, while also partnering with the Power of Change Ministry, will allow out staff to immediately assist our students and larger school community"
"When non-profits, school districts and business leaders join together to do good, anything is possible," said Art McCoy, Superintendent of Jennings, Mo. School District. "It's truly a pleasure to partner with outstanding organizations to support our students with sustenance and empower our families to have their basic needs met. When we move at the speed of need, children thrive, and we all succeed."
According to Feeding America, many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federally funded nutrition programs, resulting in more reliance on local organizations and food banks for support. The School Food Markets will provide needed resources to hungry students and their families.
About St. Louis Area Foodbank
The St. Louis Area Foodbank began its service to the community in 1975. Since that time, the organization has grown to become the bi-state region's largest nonprofit 501c3 food distribution center dedicated to feeding individuals in need. Through a robust network of community partners and programs throughout 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois, the Foodbank helps provide 37 million meals annually. More than 392,000 people in the bi-state region rely on the Foodbank for assistance each year. For more information on the organization and the issue of hunger, please visit www.STLFoodbank.org.
About Bayer Fund
Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects. For more information, visit www.fund.bayer.us.
For Bayer Fund
For St. Louis Area Foodbank
Daphne Dorsey, phone +1 314.694.6544
Ryan Farmer, phone +1 314.239.6062
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