DMARC Assists Over 55,000 People in 2019

Food Pantry Use in December

In December 2019, 19,613 people used a DMARC food pantry, an 11.6% increase in use compared to December 2018.

Download December’s Food Pantry Usage Report

Food Pantry Use Continues to Increase

In calendar year 2019, the DMARC Food Pantry Network assisted 55,745 unique individuals comprising 23,820 unique households through its network of 14 partner food pantries and dozens of Mobile Food Pantry sites. Of the top five overall months of use in the history of the DMARC Food Pantry Network, three of them occurred in 2019 (July, October, November).

The DMARC Food Pantry Network assisted an average of 19,038 individuals every month in 2019, and saw an 8.5% average monthly increase in food pantry use.

The average visitor utilized a food pantry just 4.1 times in 2019. 30% of all people who used a food pantry in 2019 only did so once.

SNAP Participation Continues to Decline

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in Iowa as Food Assistance, has continued to decline in Polk County. So too has SNAP participation declined among people using the Food Pantry Network.

As you can see in the graph above, while the overall number of people seeking some form of food assistance in Polk County has decreased, the DMARC Food Pantry Network has seen steady increases. More people in Polk Country are turning to food pantries for assistance, and less people are enrolled in Food Assistance/SNAP.

We can’t be sure of the causes of this, but some possible reasons for the declining rate of SNAP participation and increased use of food pantries include:

  • people choosing not to apply for SNAP out of mistrust in the government and fear of retribution
  • people making too much money to qualify for SNAP, but still struggling to make ends meet
  • people forgoing applying for SNAP due to the belief they will only get the $16 minimum benefit
  • people not meeting the minimum work requirements for SNAP

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