The 35th annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival opened with Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein. Mike Isaacson, executive producer of The Muny, interviewed the Broadway legend about his career and volunteer efforts. Fierstein also gave away personalized t-shirts from his shows Newsies and Kinky Boots, and signed copies of his books and CDs. More than 900 fans attended the event.

Community members at Bethesda Meadow in Ellisville marked Veterans Day by honoring its veteran residents and staff members. Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones served as the guest speaker Honorees also participated in a special pinning ceremony and the annual Parade of Flags, and were visited by horses from the skilled nursing community’s equine-assisted therapy program.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel enjoyed a complimentary meal at Pinnacle Entertainment hotels in honor of the company’s gratitude for their service. Participants chose between dining at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa and River City Casino Hotel. The event was part of a company-wide initiative to support men and women in uniform throughout the year.

The Community School hosted alumna and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley as its 61st annual book show guest author. The author of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series headlined a student-body assembly before visiting with smaller groups of students and sharing her experiences as a writer. Smiley graduated from the school in 1961.

Artists Larry Emerson and Byron Sletten greeted guests during the opening night of their photography, mixed media and video installations exhibition, Origins: Natural Selections, at the Regional Arts Commission. Curated by Ellen Curlee, the show explores the beauty existing within the mysteries of the world. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and runs through Dec. 21. Pictured: Larry Emerson, Ellen Curlee and Byron Sletten

Customers of Mobil on the Run raised more than $30,000 for Life Skills’ Autism Services through the company’s ‘All Stars for Autism’ project. By purchasing stars at Mobil on the Run locations, customers supported the organization’s mission to help people with developmental disabilities learn, live, work and participate in the community.

Fathers and sons from St. Louis University High School teamed up to help the St. Louis U.S. VETS facility, which provides transitional housing and counseling services for 22 Midwestern veterans and their dependents. The volunteers created a victory garden for residents to enjoy fresh produce.

Joining together to raise awareness and research funds for JDRF Greater Missouri and Southern Illinois Chapter, more than 2,500 walkers participated in the St. Charles Oktoberfest/JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes at Frontier Park. The event raised $78,000, which will go toward research to better treat, cure and prevent type 1 diabetes. Photo by Patrick Dalessandro

Staffers from Emmis Communications’ local stations NewsTalk 97.1, 105.7 The Point, KSHE 95 and KHITS 96.3 volunteered at the St. Louis Area Foodbank to celebrate the company’s day of service. The 55 staff members sorted, packaged and labeled more than 34,000 pounds of food for distribution to area food pantries, providing 28,447 meals for hungry St. Louisans.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Chesterfield Day School created trendy Rainbow Loom bracelets and rings to donate to St. Martha’s Hall, which provides shelter for abused women and their children. Math teacher Susie Sullivan had students use a donated loom and twist bands to create the popular jewelry, and the class also donated the loom to the organization.

CEOs and other executive-level business associates from across the area worked on building homes in University City as part of Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’ CEO Build. Volunteers were able to do hands-on work while working toward a common goal. All four of the Habitat homes in University City are being built to meet LEED platinum standards.

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