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Spotlight on St. Louis Area Neighborhood Activities -

Turnip I Bus Brings Fresh Produce to the Neighborhoods
"Turnip I", a Metro bus retrofitted as a traveling food market, brings access to fresh, high quality fruits and veggies to the residents of Jeff VanderLou Neighborhood on Saturdays.

'Turnip I' Bus Brings Fresh Produce to the Neighborhoods
by Betty Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 13, 2017 - Residents of the Jeff VanderLou Neighborhood in North St. Louis now have access to fresh fruit and veggies at a very affordable price from a very unusual store.

On Saturdays, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., the "Turnip I", a brightly painted, retrofitted Metro bus can be found on the parking lot next to the City of St. Louis Fire Department HQ, located at 1421 Jefferson.

Lucas Signorelli, executive director, St. Louis Metro Market (STLMM), who was the first employee when the non-profit organization started last year, was actively working with volunteers and greeting customers on a delightful Saturday morning.

"I was hired to run the market in it's inaugural season. We go into food 'desert neighborhoods' to provide access to fresh, high quality produce at affordable prices for residents of the neighborhood," noted Signorelli.

Residents can step inside the bus to browse rows of fresh produce in attractive bins where passengers once sat. A wooden floor and bright lights create a welcoming atmosphere to shop. Customers can use a variety of payments for their goods, including EBT and Double Up Food Bucks.

He explained that the produce is gathered from numerous sources including local farmers that support the organization. "We have Good Life Growing here in North St. Louis where they have a farm in The Ville neighborhood. They grow fresh produce there and bring it onto the bus. Winslow's Home, which is a restaurant off of Delmar in U City has a farming opperation. They also grow produce for us as well. We have Urban Harvest who runs the Food Roof Farm in downtown St. Louis. So produce from that farm and other gardens they have in the neighborhoods comes to the bus."

"Produce Row, which is an old school wholesale produce market which has been around forever on the riverfront, is where we get the rest of the food," he continued.

Signorelli emphasized that they are able to offer great prices because there is zero markup. "We are passing it on at wholesale prices and that's what makes it affordable," he said, turning to help a volunteer requesting assistance with the computer at the checkout.

According to the timeline on, the concept of bringing access to fresh produce to low income neighborhoods became a reality when it was selected for a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action in 2014. St. Louis Metro donated a city bus in 2015 and Incarnate Word Foundation provided the funds to retrofit the bus.

STLMM also won a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health at the Skandalaris Center's Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition. "Turnip 1" kicked off its first season in 2016.

Turnip I also travels to the Dellwood Recreation Center, located at 10266 W Florisaant Ave for Fresh Fridays, 3 - 6 p.m. and Carr Square, at the intersection of 16th and Cass, on Saturdays, from 1:30 - 3 p.m. For full schedule and more information on weekly cooking demos, samples and recipes, visit

Eureka Fund Raiser for Flood Victims
From left to right: Deacon Leo Fehner, Ed Funke, Carol Vescovo, Jim Hoene, Marge Sabo, Elizabeth Arway, Barb Soulon, Marilyn Gilbert, Beth Cavender, Jean Bollinger and Terri Detter.

Eureka Resident Raises $9,800 for St. Louis Area Flood Victims
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 8, 2017 - A T-shirt fundraiser benefiting individuals affected by the 2017 flooding in Eureka, Pacific and Valley Park has raised $9,805.40 for local Society of St. Vincent de Paul conferences.

"The outpouring of support we saw this spring was truly incredible," said Elizabeth Arway, a Eureka resident and designer of the custom T-shirts and tank tops "Eurkea Strong" featured in the fundraiser. "It is so inspiring to be part of such a strong, resilient, giving community, and we are very proud to have been part of showcasing the Eureka Strong spirit that makes this such a great place to live."

Arway, who owns a boutique marketing agency called Creative Entourage, said it was very important to keep this effort and the money raised local, noting that the shirts were locally produced and printed at S&S Screen Graphics in Fenton.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul conferences in Eureka, Valley Park and Pacific worked alongside local disaster committees to help families evacuate their homes before the flooding, provided housing and storage, and has used their resources to help residents with unexpected costs associated with evacuation, relocation, property damage and loss of income. The organization also provided vouchers for the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores for those needing furniture, clothing and household items.

Carol Vescovo of Most Sacred Heart St. Vincent de Paul Conference in Eureka, said, "We want to thank Elizabeth and everyone who purchased a T-shirt. Elizabeth's T-shirt fundraising was a blessing to our neighbors impacted by the floods. Our help will be available for our neighbors in need until they no longer need us."

Red Cross Charles Drew Blood Drive Coming to City Hall
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 2, 2017 - The office of St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green will host its semiannual Red Cross Charles Drew Blood Drive on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

The blood drive will be held in Room 208 of City Hall, 1200 Market Street, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are encouraged to ensure that everyone is seen quickly. The entire process takes less than an hour.

The blood drive is named in honor of Dr. Charles Drew [], the African American physician who pioneered the American Red Cross system of blood banking.

There is an ongoing special need for African American donors for two reasons: First, about 70 percent of African Americans have blood type O or B, and these are the blood types that are most in demand. Second, regular blood transfusions can help those suffering from sickle cell disease.

All donors are welcome at the blood drive. The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime.

To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit []

AmeriCorps Grants to Meet Local Needs
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 2, 2017 - The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) approved more than 20 Missouri community development projects for a total of $4,869,127 under the Missouri Community Service Commission (MCSC) for their 2017 AmeriCorps Missouri Funding Opportunity.

These grants will support hundreds of AmeriCorps projects across the state of Missouri and are made possible by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) located in Washington, DC.

"These AmeriCorps projects provide crucial support to Missouri organizations that help families in need. This support strengthens our neighborhoods, our communities, and our state as a whole, and we appreciate the tremendous work of our AmeriCorps members," said Rob Dixon, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, in a release.

AmeriCorps played a key role in emergency response to the recent statewide flooding disaster. Members filled sandbags to reduce flood damage to homes and businesses and staffed emergency centers, providing food and shelter for displaced victims. Members also coordinated cleanup and recovery efforts after the floodwaters receded. Additionally, AmeriCorps works to fill unmet needs in communities throughout the state.

Some of the recent projects that have been approved under the MCSC include: City Year, Inc. / City Year Kansas City; Missouri College Advising Corps; Waynesville R-VI School District / AmeriCorps Waynesville; Eldon R-II School District/PAVE AmeriCorps; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri; College Bound; Child Abuse Prevention Association; Harvesters-The Community Food Network; International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis; Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc.; Laclede Literacy Council; Mission: St. Louis; Missouri River Communities Network; Poplar Bluff R-I School District; Primaris Foundation/CLAIM; Purdy R-II School District; Teach for America; The Biome; The Literacy Lab/Missouri Reading Corps; The SoulFisher Ministries

Since 1994, more than 500,000 men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing needed assistance to millions of Americans through projects ranging from tutoring, youth mentoring, public safety, housing rehabilitation, health care, environmental issues, and disaster relief.

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Archived St. Louis Community News and Information:
 Tackling Vacancy: St. Louis Land Bank Assessment
 City Secures $1 Million Federal Grant to Rapidly Re-house People Experiencing Homelessness
 Grand Opening Planned for Trojan Park
 City of St. Louis Launches Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
 Mayor Slay Launches St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway at Bellerive Park
 "Adinkra Tower" Sculpture Dedicated on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday

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