By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division
On Monday March 26, Events Direct, a local events logistics company donated more than 16 pallets of cereal to The Salvation Army’s Cereal Drive, a campaign that launched last week. The Cereal Drive campaign is a social media initiative meant to raise nutritious cereal for The Salvation Army’s O’Fallon food pantry, which has seen a tenfold increased in need over the same time period last year. The online campaign saw such momentum that story of the need was picked up by local news outlets and Events Direct learned of the need in this way.
“In these trying economic times, sometimes we are lucky enough to be in the position to help those less fortunate. When the story originally ran broadcasting the need for help and specifically requesting dried, healthy cereal – Events Direct felt this to be the perfect opportunity to help the largest number of those in need and the Salvation Army as the right catalyst. While in the past Events Direct has made smaller donations to individual organizations, we felt the Salvation Army the most suitable for effectively distributing a large contribution such as this. We are happy that this donation can aid a substantial number of people in the community and that Events Direct could play a small role in helping the Salvation Army support their mission,” said Chris Ratcliff, Director of Operations at Events Direct on Monday.
The O’Fallon pantry, which went from serving 55 families per month to serving nearly 600 families per month, has seen historic growth in need, while facing an 80% cut in USDA commodities that were the primary source of food donations in past years.
Captain Paul Ferguson of the O’Fallon Salvation Army discusses the need, “The greatest need we are seeing now is nutritious breakfast cereals. They can be costly to purchase for a pantry and for a family, but they pack a lot of nutrition into one meal. So many of these children are wholly dependent on the foods they receive in school for adequate nutrition, and on the weekends, summer and spring break they need something that will hold them over. We just can’t keep in on the shelves. It’s a real commodity, and one that we are lacking right now.”
While the donation from Events Direct will certainly meet the immediate need for O’Fallon, The Salvation Army has 11 other locations in the metro area with similar levels of need. Donations of cereal and other food items are critically needed, especially entering the summer months when children will no longer get 1-2 meals per day from their local schools.
“We are so incredibly thankful to Events Direct for seeing this need and stepping up to solve it for one location in such a big way. Now we hope that more people can do the same – maybe by hosting a cereal drive at their office, or donating other bulk goods they have an abundance of. These items mean a great deal to families in need,” said Captain Ferguson on Monday.
Cash donations can be leveraged for discounted bulk purchases. Donations may be made online at www.stlsalvationarmy.organd should be denoted for “Cereal Drive” at the time of donation. Cereal donations can be made at local Salvation Army locations. Individuals with bulk donations may reach out to Danni Eickenhorst, who is coordinating the campaign, at (314) 646-3018 to arrange for pickup.