40 results for author: Blake Willadsen


Rising to meet the need

Becky Whitlow, Director of the DMARC Food Pantry Network describes herself as a bargain hunter. As the primary wholesale purchase for the network of 14 food pantry partners, mobile food pantry sites, and food delivery program, Whitlow has had her hands full. She finds herself spending almost two hours a day shopping around to keep our food costs low while maintaining the same quality options. “Before the pandemic I was pretty much able to go to just 2-3 sources and get pretty much everything I needed at a reasonable price. Now I have to work a little harder at it. I’ve started working with 3-4 additional wholesalers in the last year to shop ...

Over 140 Faith Leaders call for action on Summer EBT

Re: Iowa Interfaith Leaders - feeding hungry children this summer the right thing to do Dear Governor Reynolds, Lt. Governor Gregg, and Director Garcia, Feeding the poor is a universal value shared by all major faith traditions and all cultures – this is especially true when it comes to feeding children. These are the words shared in the summer of 2023 when faith leaders from across our state appealed to your offices to enroll in the Summer Pandemic EBT program. These words are still true now as we plead with you once again: please change course on your December 22nd statement that Iowa will not participate in the 2024 Summer EBT Progra...

5 ways you left your mark in 2023

2023 will go down as the busiest year of all-time at the DMARC Food Pantry Network. Even with the challenges that this year has brought, we are incredibly grateful for your support as we've risen to meet this emergency need in our community. 1) Your support helped us reach new heights! Whether it was giving your time, talent or treasure, you stepped up to help us meet this unprecedented moment. Countless groups held food and fund drives throughout the year. This year's Spring Greens raised over $150,000 in support of DMARC’s mission.  552 new volunteers helped out in 2023 to help us meet the record need. In fact, all volunteer contributions for ...

Holiday Closures for the DMARC Food Pantry Network

DMARC would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. Please be aware of upcoming holiday closures at all food pantry sites. DMARC's office, warehouse, and the DMARC-ket Southside Food Pantry will be closed Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, resuming operations Jan 2, 2024. The 2023-2024 holiday hours for the entire DMARC Food Pantry Network can be found below.   * The Families Forward Bidwell Pantry will also be closed Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Meet Rebeka

The relationship between homelessness and food pantry usage is not new phenomenon. Rebeka S. appreciates the option for mobile and permanent pantries. She's used both as a resource to help handicapped relatives and grab food while being unhoused in the winter months.

Meet Debra

Debra G. pulls up to the Families First – Bidwell Pantry on one of the first bitter cold days of the fall. She is grateful that today is a good day for her health, but getting to the pantry isn’t always realistic. I've had five major surgeries. I wasn't supposed to take a step in my life. But guess what? By the grace of god I'm walking!. Debra was born prematurely in the 1960's and wasn't supposed to survive more than a couple weeks. She has had five major surgeries and her mobility issues were complicated even further by a major car accident in the 1990's. She appreciates the ease of access the DMARC food delivery service provides on days when ...

Meet Heather

On a particularly sunny afternoon, Heather N. walks into the Urbandale Food Pantry with her son. It’s the beginning of the month and with the holidays right around the corner, she is excited to shop for some items that will fill the table when she hosts Thanksgiving dinner.

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

26,469 unique individuals were assisted by The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network during the month of November, becoming the busiest month in the 47-year history of the network by a significant margin. This exceeds the previous all-time record set in August 2023 by 22 percent.   This concerning rise in traffic is highlighted by the total number of pantry visits exceeding 30,000 for the first time (30,288 pantry services and repeat services). During this time, DMARC assisted a record 2,292 new individuals and follows a continued rise in people seeking out a pantry for the first time that dates back nearly a ...

The faces behind a record year

On a particularly sunny afternoon, Heather N. walks into the Urbandale Food Pantry with her son. It’s the beginning of the month and with the holidays right around the corner, she is excited to shop for some items that will fill the table when she hosts Thanksgiving dinner. “Our family has been coming here for quite a few years but recently we’ve been here more often. We couldn’t make it through the month without this service and we appreciate it so much,” Heather said. “Everything has gone up so much. Our property taxes went up $160/month. This extra food makes all the difference for us.” She and her husband have five children and ...

Host a Drive

Whether at home, in your workplace, or at your faith community, supporting the DMARC Food Pantry Network can be a fun way to bring people together around a common goal to fight food insecurity.     Help us set the table this holiday season... How to get started During our busiest time of the year, your support makes a difference for the thousands of metro neighbors visiting a food pantry this holiday season. Here are some tips to making your drive a success.