News & Events

Success Spotlight: Food Shares are More than Just Food Distribution Sites

Author: Amir Tibbs, All Hands on Deck

 

The St. Louis Food Share Network, founded by Casey Stinemetz and Elizabeth Vega in 2016, served as a beacon of hope in the fight against hunger in our city. What began as a twice-a-week effort to redirect surplus food from one retailer has continued to grow and blossom. It is now led by the team at All Hands On Deck, an initiative dedicated not only to expanding access to nutritious foods across food deserts and food insecure communities but also to increasing environmental sustainability and community spirit. The All Hands On Deck team now provides food assistance five days a week in underserved, under-resourced areas throughout the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County.

 

Since inception in 2016, the network has diverted a staggering 195,000 pounds of food annually from landfills, totaling approximately 1.4 million pounds to date. What sets All Hands On Deck apart is our commitment to inclusivity. Food SHARES are open to ALL without any qualifying criteria regarding residency, income, proof of identification etc., ensuring that no one in need is turned away. SHARE stands for Share Health And Resources Equitably, which embodies our ethos of fairness and accessibility.

 

In addition to addressing food insecurity, All Hands On Deck prioritizes sustainability. Donations received from local grocery stores and big box retailers are distributed—same day—to the community. We establish a direct line of distribution to those in need. Before composting the last remnants, surplus food that is past human grade but still edible is repurposed as animal feed for chickens, rabbits, and even a patron’s peacock! This aligns with the EPA’s Wasted Food Scale, which advocates for the donation or upcycling of surplus food before resorting to landfill disposal or composting.

 

All Hands On Deck’s grassroots movement transforms and nurtures community spirit too. SHARES are more than just food distribution sites. Each SHARE location has become a community hub where residents don’t just access food, they share, connect, exchange information and ideas, and support each other—all while contributing to environmental sustainability and helping decrease landfill waste. SHARES help heal divides - with an inclusive, diverse team of volunteers and patrons.

 

Support for All Hands On Deck;s vital mission can take many forms, from donations to volunteering. To learn more about how you can contribute, reach out to Amir or J at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For those in need of food assistance, our SHARE Leads operate five food SHAREs at various locations throughout the city each week, ensuring that help is always within reach. Our weekly calendar is posted on our AHOD Facebook page. 

 

Lastly, we would like everyone to get ready for an exciting day of fun in the community at our upcoming All Hands On Deck Community Clean Up and Resource Fair in Fairgrounds Park! Our event is held twice a year on the third Saturdays in May and October. Don’t miss the opportunity to join us as we come together to beautify the community, connect with valuable resources, make a difference for residents, and strengthen our bond with the community we serve.