Filling the Plate with a little Help from Friends– Operation Food Search

By Suzanne Corbett, Travel / Food Editor

The past few months have been a game changer, especially for those finding it a challenge to keep food on the table. A situation that many are unfortunately facing for the first time due to layouts and lose created by covid-19.  Thankfully, those living in Cardinal Nation can take heart. Help is available from a variety of community organizations such as Operation Food Search, who with its community partners, which include Cardinal Cares and Big League Impact, founded by Cardinal Pitcher Adam Wainwright, have stepped up to the plate to help feed the hungry and provide food security.

“No one should go hungry.,” said Operations Food Search Executive Director Kristen Wild.  “With the onset of covid-19,  food security in our area has spiked. We’ve seen a 30 -50 percent increase within the 30 Missouri and Illinois counties we serve.”

Wild expressed her concern how the need of food, and the delay some people take before seeking help.

“There is a lot of stigma  surrounding food insecurity, which is unfortunate, because help is available,” she said, noting the resources one can access for help such as the SNAP and WIC programs, which is in addition to the services OFS provides.  “If you want to get help or give help, we encourage people to  contact us or our website (,  Click on Family Food Finder and for information food pantries, child meal distribution locations. Click on the Family Resource Finder for information regarding government links for SNAP and WIC  food assistance and Covid-19 related issues.”

Drive-thru food distribution at library 5As the region’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring children are well-nourished, Operation Food Search (OFS)  addresses the crucial need to feed children while schools are out in several ways: providing grab ‘n go meals to children ages 18 and younger at St. Louis County Library  branches  (shown left) and community locations; distributing emergency food packs at school districts, independent schools and community locations; and continuously updating our COVID-19 resource page that includes an interactive map highlighting where children can get free meals at schools or other locations in our community.

Food is a basic need for us all.  Anyone in need shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Please contact Operation Food Search or make a call to the hunger hotline 314-726-5355 x1, or text your zip code to 785-503-3310  OFS and all their partners encourages anyone who needs help to call and Ask for help before you go hungry.