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Meals for a Million Packs St. Charles Family Arena to Beat Hunger In St. Louis and Beyond

4 Sep 2018 | Under News | Posted by | 0 Comments
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“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” – Luke 12:48

The principles of our faith provide guidance in both our personal life and our business. We believe all of us are blessed with the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of our brothers and sisters. The joy we feel when helping others is far and away beyond anything we experience completing a project or closing a deal. Giving back is not only the right thing to do, it is one of the most personally fulfilling things you can do.

August 25th and 26th marked our second annual Meals for a Million event at the St. Charles Family Arena. Over 2,000 volunteers packed 900,300 meals to help feed our neighbors across St. Louis and beyond in the name of Jesus. This was a tremendous success and one we celebrate with the impact it’s already making in our city.

Meals for a Million started because we were fortunate enough to realize something most people either don’t realize or simply don’t want to accept. Hunger is not only a problem in developing countries across oceans and thousands of miles away, it is a real and all too common problem right here in St. Louis. Even after reading this paragraph, many of you may find yourself refusing to accept that hunger is a genuine and urgent issue right here in the heartland of America.

The Real Story of Hunger in the Heartland

A few years ago, we began working with a nonprofit organization to pack meals and ship them to those in need around the world. After developing a deeper understanding of hunger and food insecurity, we learned 17% of Missourians struggle with hunger or food insecurity on a regular basis. Our desire to find some way to make a difference was amplified when we realized 21.6% of Missouri’s children find themselves in the heartbreaking predicament of not knowing for certain where their next meal is coming from.

We knew we had to do something to confront the problem of hunger right here in our own town. We decided if we were going to act we wanted to have as big of an impact as we possibly could. At that moment, Meals for a Million was born.

In the city of St. Louis and unfathomable 25.5% of the population is unsure where their next meal will be coming from. Over 41% of Missourians live in poverty. Take a moment for the gravity of the statistics to sink into your conscience. One in four St. Louisians don’t have enough to eat on a regular basis. Nearly a quarter of St. Louisians who live in food-insecure families are children. It is all too likely many of your friends and neighbors are putting on a brave face to hide the agonizing reality of being hungry.

Hunger Leads to More Than an Empty Stomach

Consider this story. You weren’t able to sleep last night. The deadline for your big work project is this afternoon at five. You don’t have time for breakfast; you want to get to work early. You scarf down a bit of cereal on your way out the door. You get to work, dive into your project, and you are totally focused. All of the sudden, you realize you don’t feel very good. You’ve got a headache, and you just can’t concentrate.

You didn’t feel good because you have not been able to sleep and you have barely eaten anything the entire day. This is just a story, but we’ve all probably been in similar situations before. If a small breakfast and missing lunch can affect you this much, imagine how difficult your day would be if missing meals was simply a part of your everyday life.

There is a ripple effect when it comes to living with food insecurity. Being hungry regularly leads to a host of physical ailments. We touched on these problems a bit in our blog from last year. Going hungry can also be the catalyst for the development of many different psychological issues as well.

Not having enough to eat is stressful for both parents and children. For hungry adults and children alike, this stress can be intense and unrelenting. Prolonged, severe stress can cause adults and children to develop many different psychological ailments. Research clearly shows food insecurity increases the likelihood of developing anxiety, depression, and ADD or even ADHD.

Earlier we mentioned too many people think hunger is a problem plaguing only developing and Third World countries. We know this assumption is false. Just as hunger can be found in even the most advanced of countries, so can the socioeconomic problems brought on by hunger.

Food Insecurity Can Lead to Crime and Social Unrest

Evidence strongly suggests individuals who are dealing with food insecurity are more likely to commit violent crimes. Social and psychological researchers have not been able to nail down the exact link between growing up in an environment where food is scarce and crimes are violent. The leading hypothesis is the combined side effects of not having enough to eat begin to snowball.

Slowly but surely, these negative consequences pile up. As these negative repercussions build, it only takes one more proverbial straw to break the camel’s back. Once this tipping point is reached, someone who has lived a life of hunger is likely to find themselves committing violent crimes.

Although, the social sciences have been unable to pin down an exact link between food insecurity and committing violent crimes, in the grand scheme of society it is an indisputable fact that many inmates commit crimes to temporary escape the struggles of hunger and a life of poverty. Many current and former inmates openly admit to committing a crime for the explicit purpose of going to jail.

Setting out with the clear-cut goal of going to jail may seem counterintuitive. If you’ve never had to battle poverty or wonder where your next meal is coming from you might be missing the bigger picture. When you’re in jail you know that you are going to have three square meals a day, shelter from the elements, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep. Sadly, many people will trade their freedom for the certainty of having these necessities.

Fighting Food Insecurity Does More Than Feed the Hungry

America is often referred to as the land of plenty. Around the world, residents of other countries dream of coming to the United States. The United States is seen as a land of opportunity and bounty. America may be a country of bounty. However, it is also a country that wastes a staggering amount of food year after year.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates this land of plenty wastes 30 to 40% of the food it produces. This alarming percentage of waste equates to between 133 billion and 160 billion pounds of food being discarded into landfills every year. To put this startling statistic into perspective, every year we throw away about a pound of food for every man, woman, and child in America.

Meals for a Million and other food packing events serve multiple extraordinarily wonderful purposes. They help feed those in need. These events also reduce waste, putting our landfills on a diet. Our environment also benefits from events designed to reduce food insecurity.

It is our hope that the donations made through our Meals for a Million event make a genuine and lasting impact on those in need. While we hope the lives of those in need will be enriched by the donations, we know Meals for a Million has made a tremendous impact on our lives. We are truly blessed to be in a position where we can help so many people right here in our own community. We are also blessed to have so many gracious sponsors, friends and, and neighbors whose hard work, dedication, and selflessness made this wonderful event possible.

I’d be an idiot if I did not take this opportunity to communicate to you how much we appreciate the way in which you conduct business and take care of our facility. In my experience you, and your team, are at the top of the list of all the roofing companies I’ve dealt with over the years. Thank you!

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

Eric and crew were really nice to have around. They were courteous, careful and caused little if any disruption. Their work looks good too! To be honest… a good experience with a product that I initially had misgivings about. I’m a convert because of Bubba, Sam and Eric. Thank you.

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

“I want to thank the crew at R&A for a job well done on our very leaky roof at the shop. It is certainly nice to have the drips and rivers gone from the shop when it is raining. I also wanted you to know how much we appreciated that the guys were able to stay out of our way and allowed us to do business as usual without any problems or interruptions. The roof looks great and the clean-up after the job made it so we couldn’t even tell you’d been here. Thanks for doing what you do so well!”

Jay Moore, President of Safe Way Tire and Auto Center

“My wife and I were on vacation when water pipes burst in our house. We got a hold of Craig and the R&A crew was able to start evacuating the water immediately. The best part was that they were able to start work before we even returned home. It was a very fast turnaround considering the extensive amount of water damage.”

Will from Dardenne Prairie, MO

“Craig and Mike came out in a timely fashion when we needed the work done. They did a reliable and quality job.”

Jerry from SLR Properties

“Craig helped us out tremendously with the insurance process. Timely and very professional.”

Lindell from Greater Missouri Builders (GMB)

“We purchased a house and there was some damage to the roof. Very impressed with the thoroughness of Mike’s inspection. Very comfortable with their explanation of what needed to be fixed. Most impressive was the way they protected our landscaping. Really liked the way they treated me as a valued customer, even though it was only a small project.”

Ross from Troy, MO

“I use R&A Contracting when my commercial roofs receive storm damage. They work on our behalf through every step of the insurance claim process. They perform all of the work and complete the insurance process, making our roofs better than they were before the storm.”

Director of Facilities for a large Property Management Company

“The team at R & A Contracting responded immediately when notified of our water disaster. They removed water-damaged materials and property quickly and restored our home even before the final settlement from our insurance company. They minimized how long our family had to live in a hotel and got us back to normal as fast as possible.”

Will from O'Fallon, MO