DMARC Partners with Walgreens in Red Barrel Program

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is partnering with 21 metro area Walgreens’ stores, in the Red Barrel Program for the month of June. A kick-off event for the month-long donation drive will be held at the Walgreens on E. 14th Street and University Avenue, Des Moines on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The KRNT AM1350 will also be present from 10 a.m. to Noon with an on-air celebrity and promotional giveaways.

During this Walgreens donation drive in June, DMARC and MovetheFood will accept donations of cash and shelf-stable food and personal items from the stores to support its 14-site Food Pantry Network. Walgreens manager John Lipshaw had this to say about the Red Barrel program, “I think it is nice that Walgreens and DMARC are able to partner together in this much needed program, while helping our communities Be Well!”

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Walgreens once again this summer!” said John Robinson, coordinator of the Red Barrel program. “People don’t always think of giving during the month of June. This annual drive is a great way to expand our reach into the community and to remind people that the need for food assistance does not go away during the summer months.”

“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.”

So for the month of June there are 50 red barrels located in the Des Moines metro area, including all Dahl’s, Fareway, Hy-Vee 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. In 2012, Red Barrel donations totaled nearly 105,000 food items. Over 8,000 pre-sacked bags of food were purchased this year. For a list of most needed food pantry items, click here.

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 DMARC’s Food Pantry Network, the largest in Iowa servicing 13 individual pantries in greater Des Moines.

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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