Charity & Grassroots in Bridgeton

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Located near the intersection of I-70 and I-270, St. Louis Area Foodbank has easy access to 12 counties in Illinois and 14 counties in Missouri. It uses this real estate well, too, sending out trucks loaded up with more than 35 million pounds of food to 500 pantries and soup kitchens in those 26 counties. Those partner organizations then deliver that food to hungry families?something they've done since the Foodbank's inception in 1975.?

While feeding as many people as it does, the organization still makes an effort to follow the lives of the people it helps. In the past,?St. Louis Area Foodbank fed Doris, a senior citizen from Farmington who volunteers at the local food pantry, Ken and Krista from Carlyle, who had to choose between paying bills and feeding their children, and with Dianna from Salem, who lost everything in a fire. The organization feeds more than 57,000 people just like this every week, supporting them when they're unable to make ends meet.?

70 Corporate Woods Drive
Bridgeton,
MO
US

The astronauts deftly dodge the oncoming trickle of rocks and debris from the meteor shower, and as the rubble clears they see the Moon up ahead. It is at this site that they?ll soon establish the first permanent human base. Though it sounds like science fiction, novice astronauts attempt this feat daily at Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis. Part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education?a nonprofit founded by the families of the astronauts who died in the 1986 Challenger space-shuttle mission?the center educates visitors in science and teamwork with its space simulators. Whether navigating a spacecraft or abetting astronauts at a Mission Control modeled after NASA?s Johnson Space Center, student, community, and corporate groups must maintain a cooperative spirit while assembling a probe, or being the first human to land on Mars.

205 Brotherton Ln.
Saint Louis,
MO
US

Opening hours are a little funky: both locations are open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, but alternate Tuesday evenings (2 p.m.–6 p.m.). On the first and third Tuesday of the month, stop by the Crestwood Court locale. On the second and fourth, head to the Chesterfield Mall instead. Load up on back-to-school supplies, back-to-school teaching materials, and back-to-school VHS copies of Back to School with today's side deal.

291 Chesterfield Mall
Chesterfield,
MO
US

In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.

109 Windy Acres Estates Drive
Ballwin,
MO
US

Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Director Of Education Programs, Luanne Rimel, attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Rimel, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.

At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.

Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Rimel remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.

The student and faculty artists are the backbone of the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.

501 N Grand Blvd
Saint Louis,
MO
US

Annie’s Hope sponsors a teen retreat in which small groups of bereaving teens interact with empathetic peers, explore their concerns about a recent death, and work toward healing. Group and individual activities encourage teens to develop coping strategies by expressing themselves through arts and crafts, journaling about complicated feelings, and creating mementos of their loved ones in a candle-lighting ceremony. Annie’s Hope requires additional funding to cover the costs of its next retreat, including transportation to and from the retreat site, meals and snacks for the weekend, lodging, arts-and-crafts supplies, candles, and a nursing staff.

1333 W Lockwood Ave
Saint Louis,
MO
US