41 results for author: Blake Willadsen


A year after the pandemic ends on paper, food pantry usage continues to grow faster than ever before

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network assisted 1,725 unique individuals on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, setting a new single-day record of people assisted. All-time single day records were recently set for the DMARC Food Pantry Network on Nov. 1, 2022 (1529) and Tuesday, Jan. 3 2023 (1615). However, the margin of increase on May 2 of over 100 individuals is unprecedented compared to previous records. The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network also assisted 19,305 people in April 2023, a new record for the month, and an 35% increase over April 2022. “These are uncharted waters for us,” said ...

Over 200 Iowa Interfaith Leaders Speak Out against SNAP legislation

Re: Iowa Interfaith Leaders Speak Out Against SF 494 Dear Governor Reynolds, Lt. Governor Gregg, and Iowa Legislative Leaders, We, the undersigned leaders from across the religious spectrum, oppose Senate File 494 on moral, religious, and humanitarian grounds. Feeding the poor is a universal value shared by all major faith traditions and all cultures. As such, we stand together to speak the truth in the face of many harmful, pervasive myths about public assistance and our neighbors in need. Our neighbors need our help now more than ever. Food pantry usage is at an all time high as families struggle with rising costs and low wages. The vast ...

DMARC Food Pantry Network Breaks March, April records

A year after a massive reduction in public benefits end in Iowa, disturbing trends loom for food insecurity The DMARC Food Pantry Network set a new record for the number of people assisted in the month of March, reaching 19,410 unique individuals seeking out food assistance.  A March record was also set with 1,456 first-time visitors utilizing the DMARC Food Panty Network. These records highlight a disturbing trend that is continuing into this month.  On April 4 , 1,562 unique individuals received food assistance, becoming the second highest single day ever in the 47-year history of the DMARC Food Pantry Network. This was just short of ...

DMARC Statement on International Transgender Day of Visibility

At DMARC, we have a mission of working together to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community – and that includes everyone. We lift up and support our LGBTQ+ community and recognize the unique hardships faced by the queer community in meeting their basic human needs. Today on International Transgender Day of Visibility we would like to reaffirm our commitment to welcoming all that are seeking assistance, without any proselytization, or judgement. As members of the transgendered community are being targeted across our state and country we feel compelled to reaffirm to the members of the LGBTQ+ Community that we see you and ...

Join DMARC for Sundays at the Ballpark

Take me out to the ball game! A special partnership with the Iowa Cubs allows baseball fans free admission to any Sunday home game (approx. 1 p.m. start time) with the donation of three food items to the DMARC Food Pantry. Donations can be made at the DMARC booth at Gate B. Games run from April through September and volunteers are needed to help at the booth.   About DMARC: The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is an interfaith organization whose mission is to work together to meet basic human needs of the greater Des Moines community. Perhaps its most recognizable contribution to the community is the DMARC Food Pantry ...

Statement by DMARC on the passage of Senate File 494

As expected, yesterday the Iowa Senate passed Senate File 494 along party lines. The fight around the supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is not a new one, but somehow the dialogue around public assistance never changes. Elected officials claim their job is to ensure tax dollars are being responsibly allocated around public assistance in our state. At a time when Iowa is consolidating and streamlining government, the sticker shock of this bill alone should be enough to walk away from the table. Is 2.8 million dollars and 200 new full time state employees responsible? In other cases, Iowa requires far less of people who receive ...

Spotlight: DART Central Station Mobile Food Pantry

STORY BY JOE DOLACK, OPERATIONS MANAGER Transportation has long been a barrier for people looking to access a food pantry. Learning to meet that need sparked an idea and partnership between Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) and DMARC. Since 2018, the mobile pantry site at DART Central station has operated every Thursday and has become one of the most utilized mobile sites that DMARC operates. Being downtown or along a dedicated route to larger employers helps us reach folks who may not otherwise find a pantry site. This location provides food assistance to a higher percentage of those that are unhoused for the Monthly Core Supply and ...

Winter weather closure for Feb. 16

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is closing its office, warehouse, and DMARC-ket Southside Food Pantry on Thursday, Feb. 16 due to expected severe winter weather. Residents are encouraged to call their local food pantry directly with questions about closures to have the most up-to-date information. Pantry locations and contact information can be found at dmarcunited.org/food/pantry-locations/.

DMARC, Food Bank of Iowa commit to work together, share path forward

DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 14, 2023) – The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) and Food Bank of Iowa (FBOI) today announced plans for a new food rescue partnership and coordinated distribution standards to assist Polk County neighbors facing food insecurity. DMARC CEO Matt Unger and Food Bank of Iowa CEO Michelle Book answered questions at a news conference along with Scott Raecker, executive director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University; and food insecurity expert Jordan Vernoy, co-owner of Cedar Falls-based See What I Mean Consulting. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa ...

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