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.
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.
Featuring traditional decor and fabulous amenities, Knights of Columbus lodge in Florissant is a great place to unwind and relax.
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Mystique Boutique—an upscale mobile fashion resale shop replete with built-in dressing rooms and walls that drop into a stage—offers fashion-minded shoppers in the metropolitan St. Louis area an opportunity to buy name-brand and designer resale apparel while helping the community. Patrons choose from upscale outfits, shoes, and accessories for less than they'd find in stores or when haggling with a fashion model on the sidewalk.
All proceeds benefit Mystique Boutique's parent foundation, Connections to Success, which works on long-lasting and multi-faceted solutions to poverty. Connections to Success stands by its participants every step of the way: life-transformation coaches and volunteer mentors help participants transition from challenging situations, set personal goals, attend workshops in personal and professional development, learn job-specific skills, and finally apply and interview for the job they want. Connections to Success' core programs include "Pathways to Success" and "Dress for Success Midwest".
With stunning views and endless accommodations, Loyal Order of Moose Lodges in Saint Charles is a great place to enjoy a relaxing retreat.
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The green thumbs at Gateway Greening believe in the power of a garden. For nearly three decades they have promoted gardening in both public spaces and private backyards as a solution to urban issues ranging from food insecurity to sedentary lifestyles. Through a citywide network of more than 200 gardens—including community vegetable gardens, tree and shrub plantings, and street beautification projects—the organization brings fresh food to the community, teaches hands-on lessons, and uses empty space in a positive way. Member gardeners can attend educational workshops on garden care, watering, and landscaping principles, and take advantage of assistance with project planning and procurement of materials.
Other key Gateway Greening programs work with specific populations to encourage self-sufficiency. The City Seeds Urban Farm, provides job training to individuals experiencing homelessness and distributes fresh, locally grown produce to nearby food pantries. Also youth gardens supported by Gateway Greening dot the grounds of more than 60 local schools.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassrootsblog.