DMARC Partners with Walgreens in Red Barrel Program

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is partnering with 23 metro area Walgreens’ stores, in the Red Barrel Program. To kick-off the new locations an event will be held at the Walgreens on 2545 E. Euclid Avenue, Des Moines on Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. DMARC and MovetheFood will accept donations of cash and shelf-stable food and personal items from the stores to support its 12-site Food Pantry Network.

Walgreens community leader Tom Humphrey had this to say about the Red Barrel program, “Ever since we opened up Walgreens in Des Moines, we have understood the need to help in our local community.”

There are now 55 red barrels located in the Des Moines metro area, including all Hy-Vee, Dahl’s, Fareway and now the Walgreens’ stores. Customers are encouraged to buy non-perishable individual food and personal items when they shop and place them in the Red Barrel when they leave the stores. Through the Red Barrel Program 124,638 items of food were collected in 2011.

“We are so excited about this partnership!” said John Robinson, coordinator of the Red Barrel program. “It doesn’t get any better than working with new friends to share with our neighbors. We are immensely grateful for the big-thinking of the folks at Walgreens.”

“Our Saturday partnerships do help in increasing our pantry items distributed to the 12 area food pantries, and yet it’s about so much more,” said Sarai Rice, executive director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council, lead agency in the MovetheFood initiative. “It’s about nutrition, health and dignity. Our pantry families are often stunned when they see that they can access even personal and hygienic products at their pantry site. It’s a very hard step for families to take – to decide they need to go to a food pantry – and the fact that we can provide food and personal care products, I hope, makes it a little easier for families who are going through a hard time.”

The Red Barrel Program is affiliated with the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s Food Pantry Network. The program, which began in Des Moines food stores 20 years ago, is a source of food contributions for the Food Pantry Network. The DMARC Food Pantry Network is the largest in Iowa servicing 12 individual pantries in the Des Moines metro area.

Red Barrel program is recruiting volunteers to join in staffing the Sack Days on Saturdays. If you can help, call 515-277-6969 or email

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