Catholic Charities of St. Louis, Operation Food Search Host Drive-Up Food & Supply Event

There were plenty of smiles and mostly sunshine while more than 450 families were served at a three-hour food and supply distribution event held May 16 at the Catholic Charities office, 4445 Lindell Blvd.

Catholic Charities provided gift cards, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies, as well as hand sanitizers and face masks.  Sysco St. Louis contributed a variety of food items including fresh produce, dairy, cheese and juice.  Operation Food Search provided meat, cheese, sandwiches and cleaning supplies. Representatives from the Gateway Grizzlies professional baseball organization (including mascot Izzy) also stopped by to drop off food.    

About 40 volunteers from Catholic Charities, Operation Food Search, and the National Guard helped with loading supplies and other logistics that helped the event run smoothly.  St. Louis Police Department assisted with traffic control. Catholic Charities volunteers included employees and their families, donors, board members, and members of the Catholic Charities Young Professionals group.

“We are pleased to be able to combine our resources and experience with Operation Food Search and Sysco to connect people with a variety of basic necessities,” said Theresa Ruzicka, President, Catholic Charities of St. Louis. “It’s core to our overall mission of serving people in need and just one part of our coordinated COVID-19 relief efforts.”   

According to Kristen Wild, Executive Director at Operation Food Search, the rate of food insecurity in the State of Missouri was 14 percent before the pandemic and now sits at 41 percent. 

In addition to the 500 bags of personal care and cleaning items and nearly $13,000 in gift cards distributed at the May 16 event, the Catholic Charities Central Office has provided nearly $200,000 in COVID-19 related relief in the form of gift cards and direct financial assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities and other immediate needs.

See a related article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 18, 2020.