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Food and Drink

CWE North Community Improvement District rolls out Rewards Program to support local businesses

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Services Shop News  CWE North Community Improvement District Rewards Program

Nicola MacPherson offering pick up in CWE for Ozark Forest Mushrooms, fresh greens

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Urban Gardens  Ozark Forest Mushrooms Nicola MacPherson

In March of 2017, I interviewed Nicola MacPherson, founder of Ozark Forest Mushrooms, at her CWE home office, which you can read again here. Her products were sold to many St. Louis area restaurants as well as grocery and healthfood stores. This is the email that arrived in my mailbox this afternoon:

With the closing of restaurants due to the coronavirus we have lost 80% of our business.

“ From our Porch to your Table” is available at our CWE home office location!

Fresh from our farm mushrooms, dried mushrooms, condiments and frozen products placed in sterile coolers.

One person has picked and packed the orders. No supermarket here!

Just email us your order ( and we will take credit card payments over the phone Tel 314 531 9935 (9am-5pm), or Venmo, the link on the form!

Pick up this Friday 4/3/2020 between 3-5pm

Please share this email with friends, family, and neighbors.


PS: I asked if Nicola had any mushroom logs so we could grow our own mushrooms outside. She thought she might and if so, will add them to the list next week. In the meantime, she has lots of fresh mushrooms she needs to move, so check out the list above.

Locally-grown GiftAMeal raises $20,000 for Operation Food Search

In October of 2015 I interviewed Andrew Glantz, a W.U. student, the founder and CEO of GiftAMeal, a phone app that cleverly provide meals for those in need (here is the link to that post). The program is still in operation today. It has spread across other cities in Missouri, Chicago, and Detroit. I thought you would enjoy reading how Glantz and his team have raised funds for Operation Food Search in the age of the coronavirus.

GiftAMeal Helps Raise $20,000 in Emergency COVID-19 Hunger Relief Matching Campaign.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Services  Operation Food Search. GiftAMeal Andrew Glantz

Just 10 days after launching a $5,000 matching donation challenge to its mobile app users, St. Louis based startup GiftAMeal announced today that a total of $20,000 was raised for Operation Food Search’s local hunger relief efforts.

Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, commended the speedy effort: “GiftAMeal has always been a dependable source of donations with their ongoing program, but the results of the matching gift campaign are amazing. Their response comes at a time when it matters most urgently, and we’re so grateful to GiftAMeal, their users, and everyone involved with their program.”

For his part, GiftAMeal founder Andrew Glantz was equally amazed at the outpouring of support from the community. “It’s incredible, the generosity of our users and supporters. Our program’s donations have always been funded by our partner restaurants, and totally free to our users. So when I reached out to them, I was hopeful but not expecting a huge immediate response like this. We’re through the roof excited at what our supporters have done in just over a week.”

The donations started coming in soon after the startup announced to users a 5-point plan to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the local community.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done in such a short time. But the credit on this huge donation to Operation Food Search belongs to our users. We set what we thought was an ambitious goal, and they donated three times that. It’s amazing,” commented Glantz. “In addition to this donation campaign, we’ve been working hard to support our restaurant partners and our community by changing our app to allow our users to take a photo of their take-out, delivery, and even gift card purchases to give a meal to someone in need even after this campaign.”Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Services  Operation Food Search. GiftAMeal Andrew Glantz

The funds will be used locally, to help Operation Food Search provide emergency food to those in need throughout the greater St. Louis area. According to the organization’s website, $20,000 is enough to provide eight thousand family meal kits.

“Even in a tough time like this, people are really coming together to help their neighbors. I’ve had restaurants call me about donating extra food, wanting to know how they could get set up with our food bank partner or local pantries — everywhere I look, people are wanting to help.” Glantz marveled, “This town is amazing.”

About GiftAMeal

GiftAMeal is a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo of their order from one of 200 participating restaurants. Over 400,000 meals have been given to those in need through the program so far.

Check out for more information.