DMARC Food Pantry Network sees busiest 12-month period ever

Another record breaking month in June indicates a challenging summer may be ahead

The end of June marks the busiest 12-month period ever for the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network with 59,844 unique individuals making 251,705 visits for monthly assistance.  A staggering 1 in 3 individuals had never utilized the DMARC Food Pantry Network before – highlighting the continued strain on people’s budgets.

“The people at the heart of this issue are our neighbors, our family, our friends,” said DMARC CEO Matt Unger. “That’s what makes these past 12 months so frustrating. Record inflation continues to turn the heat up on the folks who were already struggling to meet their basic needs. So many more people are asking themselves right now ‘will we have enough this month?’ than just a year or two ago.”



As we head into the summer, things are not slowing down. The Food Pantry Network assisted 21,927 unique individuals in June 2023 – the 2nd highest monthly total in its 47-year history.  On top of record inflation, existing economic factors like stagnant wages are adding to the strain on Iowans’ budgets.

Adding to this strain are changes to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as food stamps). While SNAP enrollment in Iowa is currently at a 14-year low, changes to enrollment, eligibility and added administrative hurdles continue to make it difficult for some to access the program.

“We are moving 2-3 semi loads of food out of our warehouse each week to keep up with the increased volume.”  said Unger. “Food insecurity is touching every neighborhood in our community right now and we need your help.”

Want to support the work we are doing? Donating food, funds, and time are the easiest ways to make a difference. Volunteers are greatly needed at the DMARC Southside Food Pantry (100 Army Post Rd.) to help visitors navigate the shopping experience. Volunteer as a group (2-6) or individual for 2.5 hours anytime 9 to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Your monetary donation can also make a huge impact right now. DMARC can purchase 6x more food than individuals by purchasing in bulk through our warehouse operations.

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