41 results for author: Blake Willadsen


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.      

Jack’s Story

My name is Jack Bell. Like you, I support DMARC. Why? I was recently asked that question. Let me explain. When I was in Maryland, I was deeply involved with a food recovery and redistribution organization called Nourish Now. We started out around 2012 with modest means, recovering and redistributing food to around 3-5 families per week. By the time COVID hit, we were well-placed within the county and began serving upwards of 12,000 people per week. I was there 8 years and that essentially became my full-time job. I was immersed into the world of food insecurity. When I returned home to Iowa, I decided to re-start my local nonprofit “due ...

From farm to Food Pantry

The Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market presented by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has become a staple of Iowa food, arts, and culture since its humble beginnings decades ago. With thousands of market-goers and hundreds of vendors…have you ever wondered what happens to the food that doesn’t get purchased? The ‘Meals From the Market’ program aims to address that very question. The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network partners with the market to ensure that food that is safe to eat makes it to people facing food insecurity in our neck of the woods. Just this year the program has provided 31,010 lbs of food ...

Read the ‘Portrait of a Pantry Visitor’ Report

Portrait of a Food Pantry Visitor: Data, Demographics, and disparities This report aims to highlight current disparities among food pantry visitors related to race and ethnicity, gender, and age. It is our hope that this report will inform the public and policymakers about these disparities, why they exist, and potential ways we can remedy them in our community, as it is critical to understand the ways in which previous inequitable policies influence, and often negatively impact, people’s current realities today.

3 Ways to Scare Away Hunger this Halloween season

Looking forward to frights and fun this Halloween season? As you plan ahead for your tricks and treats, don’t forget about all the ways you can help fight hunger along the way. Hold a 'trunk or treat' event and include a food drive 'Trick or Treat' for DMARC Save the Date: Join Save the Children Action Network and DMARC  as we bring advocates from across the state of Iowa for the 2023 Iowa State Advocacy Summit on Saturday, October 28, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. What is the Advocacy Summit? The Iowa State Advocacy Summit is an annual event that brings together advocates from across the state for a tailored experience that includes ...

Save the Date – Fighting hunger shouldn’t be scary…

Join Save the Children Action Network and DMARC  as we bring advocates from across the state of Iowa for the 2023 Iowa State Advocacy Summit on Saturday, October 28, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. What is the Advocacy Summit? The Iowa State Advocacy Summit is an annual event that brings together advocates from across the state for a tailored experience that includes special speakers, expert panels, fun team building activities, and skills trainings. This year, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and Des Moines Area Religious Council are teaming up to help anti-hunger and early learning advocates level-up their skills to be a strong presence in the ...

What you need to know about P-EBT

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that food assistance will be available through a program called Summer Pandemic EBT food benefits in the coming weeks. Programs that provide food assistance with minimal barriers are key to addressing food insecurity for families and DMARC applauds the efforts of advocates who helped make these funds a possibility for the children of Iowa. Benefits are being issued to eligible school-age children through an EBT card starting this week with cards hitting mailboxes by Oct. 4. This program provides $120/child to households that have school-age children receiving free and reduced ...

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 ...

DMARC Remembers David Wolnerman

DMARC is greatly saddened to hear of the death of David Wolnerman, one of the last known Iowans who survived the Nazi concentration camps during the holocaust. During his years in the Des Moines Metro area, Mr. Wolnerman shared his story far and wide for the sake of educating and empowering Iowans to stand up against antisemitism. He was committed to efforts to build relationships across religious diversity, giving of his time and presence. When the Comparison Project at Drake University published A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland, he was pictured in prayer at Beth El Jacob Synagogue (photo above). Mr. Wolnerman ...

6 ways to make a difference during Hunger Action Month

As the DMARC Food Pantry Network continues to see more people than ever before, this September is a great time to find a way to help us fight hunger right in your own backyard. Every little bit counts… see if you can find a new way to get involved this month.  Become an anti-hunger advocate Hunger is affecting every neighborhood in the Des Moines Metro right now. Educating others about food insecurity is one of the best ways to encourage action and there are lots of ways to learn more. Read our latest publications, follow us on social media, and follow our latest advocacy efforts. You can encourage social groups you are a part of to support ...