Blues Better Halves
As the fiancée of St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, Shannon Adams doesn’t care for the acronym WAGs, a term coined by British tabloids to refer to the wives and girlfriends of famous soccer players. Instead, she and the partners of other Blues players like to refer to themselves as ‘better halves.’ But it’s not just a matter of semantics. For years, the Blues Better Halves have earned the moniker by serving the St. Louis community through various charitable initiatives.
Involvement with the Blues Better Halves is open to the partners of all players, coaches and managers, according to Adams. “The intention is to have everyone involved with every project,” she says. “But we understand that sometimes kids, work or other commitments make it impossible.” At the start of each hockey season, the group meets to catch up and plan its involvement for the year. “We’re a really close group, and we support one another,” Adams says.
Organizing charitable efforts comes naturally to the New Brunswick native. She has a background in philanthropic and social justice work in Canada. “I love bringing initiatives forward and getting the rest of the group excited,” she notes. One organization Adams suggested to the group is Urban Harvest STL, a nonprofit that addresses food insecurity through urban farming. The mission is important to Adams, who serves on the board. The Blues Better Halves has raised funds for Urban Harvest and volunteered at its farms and gardens. Adams says the group is always interested in supporting new causes, especially those important to members. “We’re definitely open to trying different things,” she says. “When someone brings a new idea to the table, no one ever really says no.”
Blues Better Halves also works with the Blues for Kids Foundation, the charitable trust of the Blues organization. “The foundation puts so much effort into keeping our families involved with initiatives in the community,” Adams says. Such projects include a trick or treat event at Scottrade Center for St. Louis Children’s Hospital patients, team game nights like Barking for the Blues that supports several local animal rescue organizations, and Festival of Trees, a fundraiser that lets fans bid on holiday trees decorated by players and their families to raise money for Lydia’s House and The Little Bit Foundation.
Adams says the group especially likes to work with organizations that support women and children. “We spend a lot of the year alone ourselves, and we think it’s really important for the group to give back to other women in the community,” she says. For more than 10 years, it has partnered with Lydia’s House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for abused women and their children. Each year, members of the Blues Better Halves decorate one of its apartments. They also work with Operation Shower, a nonprofit that hosts baby showers for military families.
While the group has been active for years, a stronger social media presence has increased public awareness. Adams manages a newly created Instagram account, @stlblues_betterhalves. “It gives us an identity, and Blues fans love to see what we’re up to,” she says. “I think it’s important to include them in what we do.” The account also is an effective tool for sharing the missions of the organizations they work with. “We love to strengthen our ongoing partnerships and promote their messages,” she says. “Every initiative we’ve been a part of has been rewarding, and we want to continue spreading the word.”
Pictured above: Members volunteer with Urban Harvest STL.
Photos courtesy of the St. Louis Blues