Cards3The 7th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive started earlier this month. To encourage participation, the Simmons Hanly Conroy has been organizing Cardinal Dress Down Days on Fridays for its employees.

“The Cardinals always seem to make it to the playoffs at the same time we are organizing our firm-wide food drive,” said Amy Garrett, Shareholder and SEF Director. “It’s an opportunity to show off our Cardinals Spirit and help provide food for the area pantries at the same time.”

Employees may wear Cardinal’s jerseys, hoodies, pull overs and t-shirts in exchange for donating at least $5 or 5 canned goods to the drive. In addition, for every $20 or 15 canned goods employees donate, they will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win Cardinal’s tickets for the 2014 season.

So far employees have raised close to 2,000 pounds of food that will be donated to five area food pantries.

Cards2The goal this year is to raise 35,000 pounds of food,” Garrett said. “The Cardinals Dress Down Days are helping. With over a month to go, we are on track to raise just as much last year.”

Last year, the firm donated 36,430 pounds of goods to the Alton Salvation Army, the Crisis Food Center in Alton, the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association’s Helping Hands food pantry, and the Community Care Center in Granite City.

Here’s additional information on how residents can help the food pantries.

Alton Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 525 Alby, serves the riverbend area through multiple programs including Sunday worship services, its food pantry, coffee house, women’s ministry and ringing bells during the holiday season.

An indoor yard sale to benefit the organization will take place at 8 a.m., Saturday, Nov 2.

Crisis Food Center

The Crisis Food Center in Alton is a part of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, which has become the bi-state region’s largest non-profit food pantry that helps those in need since it started in 1975.

The Crisis Food Center’s pantry is open from 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They always need volunteers to help package and stock food. To volunteer, call 618-462-8201.

Community Hope Center

The Community Hope Center serves an average of 100 families per day, every day its open. The pantry depends on multiple food drives, including the SEF food drive, to restock their pantry before the start of the Holiday season, Director Lynn Clonginger said in 2012.

Donations of food, clothes and other household items are accepted from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Wednesday and on Friday. The center will also holds a Christmas toy drive for area families. For more information on how to help or volunteer, call 618-259-0959.

CAMA’s Helping Hands Ministry

CAMA’s Helping Hands Ministry serves those in need in the Collinsville and the surrounding areas through its food pantry, temporary housing and transient assistance program. They are based out of the First United Presbyterian Church. The pantry is at 201 E. Church Street, Collinsville, Ill.

According to their Facebook page, they are always looking for volunteers to help with area food drives and other needs. To learn more, call 618-346-1861.

Community Care Center

The Community Care Center has been fighting hunger in Granite City since 1953. They are a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and provides the following programming free of charge to low-income families and individuals:

  • Food Pantry
  • Senior Food Delivery
  • Soup Kitchen
  • Calico Loft
  • Christmas Wreath
  • Come Share Program.

To volunteer or donate items, contact homyer_d@att.net or call 618-867-8770.