DMARC Food Pantry Network sees busiest month of all time in August

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network assisted 23,886 unique individuals during the month of August, becoming the highest monthly total in the 47-year history of the network.

During the month, 23,886 individuals made 27,142 visits for monthly assistance – an 18 percent increase from August 2022. This exceeds the previous all-time record set in November 2019 of 22,632 unique individuals and caps an uneasy trend of growing food insecurity this summer. During this time, DMARC assisted an all-time record of 2,155 new individuals.

“When you look at the added pressure that households are facing to afford basic needs like food, sometimes it is easy to forget this is happening here in our community and not somewhere outside our state or country,” said DMARC CEO Matt Unger. “It may not be visible in your day-to-day but this is affecting your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors … food insecurity is affecting people in every part of the metro.”

This summer has been unusually busy for the DMARC Food Pantry Network as the cost of living continues to outpace people’s budgets.

Sept. 5 was the all-time busiest day on record for the DMARC Food Pantry Network assisting 1,991 unique individuals. The Food Pantry Network assisted 21,927 unique individuals in June 2023 – the 3rd 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. This in turn is pushing more and more individuals to seek out a DMARC Food Pantry for the first time.

“We are assisting more children (0-17) than usual and seeing household sizes continue to grow,” said Unger. “Our typical food pantry visitor is not often someone who is dealing with extreme poverty or unhoused, it is more likely someone who has just hit a rough patch. With this many new individuals utilizing our pantries, chances are that you might know someone facing this issue.”

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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