Courtesy of Global Foods
Suchin and Shayn Prapaisilp are excited to bring back their spice drive for the holiday season.
Last year, Shayn Prapaisilp felt like he had to do something. After watching the news about the refugee crisis that occurred in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, then learning that a number of the displaced were being resettled here in the St. Louis area, Prapaisilp thought about what he and his family could offer. As the owners of Global Foods Market, they were uniquely poised to provide the comfort that a taste of home could offer the displaced Afghans. That gave him an idea.
"Canned food drives are great, but I wanted to know what is a need that isn't being fulfilled when refugees get this canned food," Prapaisilp says. "It's sustenance, but a lot of times, it's also unfamiliar flavors, and a taste of home can be very fulfilling to them. I remember when my family first immigrated and a lot of ingredients weren't available. Now, at Global, we have the resources to provide the real thing, which makes the transition to the U.S. so much easier."
For the second year in a row, the Prapaisilp family is offering that taste of home for area families facing food insecurity through its Spice Drive, an initiative that benefits those served by the International Institute of St. Louis and the St. Louis Area Food Bank. From November 14 through December 24, shoppers at the Prapaisilp's Global Foods Market are encouraged to purchase any spices available at the store; the market will then match those donations in order to provide more flavorful meals for the holiday season and beyond for those in need.
For Prapaisilp, it was a given he and his family would repeat their Spice Drive program after last year's successful launch. Nearly 600 bottles of spices got to area families in need — a response that exceeded Prapaisilp's expectations. He's hoping that, despite the Afghan refugee crisis being out of the news, shoppers will still be willing to lend a hand to those in need. As he notes, Global has a variety of spices from all over the world, and he's hopeful that there will be a diverse representation of flavors during this year's drive.
As an added benefit, Prapaisilp observed last year that many of the shoppers who donated spices also discovered them for themselves and expanded their own culinary repertoire. It's the sort of win-win situation that is emblematic of what he and his family hope to achieve even well beyond the holiday system.
"The need will always be there, and we are just glad that we get to be a part of the solution," Prapaisilp says.
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