GiftAMeal is very fortunate to be able to partner with Operation Food Search to help provide a meal each time one of our users takes a picture in a partner restaurant. We think it’s important to note, however, that GiftAMeal is only one of the many programs Operation Food Search is involved with.
When you begin to tally all the different programs that Operation Food Search runs, and the various organizations and programs they are involved with, you begin to get a sense of how expansive the organization really is.
Food Donation Program
Much of the food that makes its way to Operation Food Search is donated from local grocery stores like Schnucks and Dierbergs. When food starts to get close to its sell-by date, rather than throwing it out, many local grocery stores donate the food to Operation Food Search.
Operation Food Search then gets that food out to local pantries or uses it in some of the programs below:
There are many students in St. Louis who are eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school, which is wonderful during the week but isn’t able to reach students during the weekend. With Operation Backpack, children receive a backpack full of food on Fridays or just before a school break. On Mondays, the children return the backpack to be refilled.
Food and Fun Club
During the summer, the Food and Fun Club goes to over seventy locations across St. Louis to provide kids with a meal and some entertainment, using arts and crafts as well as STEM-related activities. The club serves over seventy locations, using both stationary and mobile sites. Most routes and sites operate six days a week.
Afterschool Meals Program
Schools that run after-hours programming are eligible to participate in the After School Meals program. The program provides light meals that include a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy, and wholegrain.
The program ensures that students who receive free or reduced lunches are also able to have access to healthy meals after the school day has ended.
Hunger Hotline St. Louis
The Hunger Hotline is active twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Those in need can call the hotline in order to receive the name and phone number for a nearby agency where the caller can find a meal.
The hotline’s number is 314-726-5355 X 1.
Finally, beyond just providing food, Operation Food Search is committed to teaching those in St. Louis how to prepare inexpensive, nutri
tious meals. Operation Food Search teams up with Share Our Strength to provide cooking classes to those struggling with or at risk for food insecurity.
Through Cooking Matters, participants are able to attend six, two-hour weekly classes. There are a variety of different iterations of the course:
Cooking Matters for Adults
Cooking Matters for Parents
Cooking Matters for Kids
Cooking Matters for Families
Cooking Matters for Teens
Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals
With all of these different programs, Operation Food Search has a sizable impact on the St. Louis community. We love to see our users dining out and taking pictures on our app, but we love it even more when the connection with Operation Food Search goes beyond just using our app. Many GiftAMeal users have taken the next step to donate their time and money to help the organization “heal the hurt of hunger.”