128 results for author: lelzinga


DMARC Statement on “Public Charge” Final Rule

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) strongly opposes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s final rule, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” We believe the “public charge” rule will negatively impact the health and nutrition of children and families in Iowa and throughout the nation. Last year, DMARC submitted a public comment opposing the proposed “public charge” rule, and encouraged our supporters to do the same. Over 266,000 public comments were received by DHS, the majority of them in opposition to the “public charge” rule. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019. As is many ...

DMARC Statement on Proposed USDA Rule Change to Broad-based Categorical Eligibility

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) strongly opposes the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s proposed rule change that would significantly roll back broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Iowa is one of 42 states and jurisdictions that utilizes broad-based categorical eligibility to effectively increase the threshold for SNAP benefits up from the federal income limit of 130% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Thanks to broad-based categorical eligibility, the gross income limit for SNAP eligibility in Iowa is 160% FPL ($19,984 annual income for an individual or ...

Staff Spotlight: Matt Unger

Here at DMARC, we're all about making connections between people. As an interfaith organization, we bring a wide variety of people together to meet basic human needs for our community. We know that by coming together and building relationships with one another, we can accomplish great things. And that's why we'd like you to get to know our staff on a more personal level. This is the first in a series of staff spotlights of DMARC's team. We thought we'd start with our new CEO, Matt Unger, so you can get to know him a little better. Matt joined DMARC as CEO in July 2019, and recently completed a 6+ year stretch at the Food Bank of Iowa. Starting ...

DMARC Food Pantry Network Assists 20,000+ in July

The DMARC Food Pantry Network assisted 20,156 individuals in the month of July 2019, an increase of 13.8% compared to July of last year. This past July was the third highest overall month of pantry use in the DMARC Food Pantry Network's 43-year history, behind November 2017 (21,108 individuals) and November 2018 (20,880 individuals). July also had the distinction of being the first month that was not a November where DMARC assisted over 20,000 individuals. While there are a number of factors that may have impacted the amount of food pantry use we saw in July (continued trade uncertainty, a report that some Iowans did not receive their SNAP ...

Three Questions to Ask Candidates Running for Office

As Iowans, we have some unique opportunities to engage and interact with candidates running for a number of elected offices, including presidential candidates visiting the state ahead of the Iowa caucuses in February 2020. DMARC has prepared a list below of three questions that you can ask candidates running for office. The following questions are framed toward those running for a federal office, but can be slightly changed depending on who you are asking the question of (ex. "What is your plan to eliminate poverty in the state of Iowa?"). Will you commit to protecting and/or expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? What ...

DMARC Awarded Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network recently received a Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant of $10,000. The grant will allow DMARC to provide the equivalent of 20,000 nutritious meals for central Iowans living with food insecurity. The grant will ensure that pantry visitors have access to fruits, vegetables, frozen meats, low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar and other healthy foods. DMARC thanks Prairie Meadows for their continued partnership in the fight against food insecurity in Greater Des Moines.

DMARC Names Matt Unger as CEO

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Board of Directors has named Matt Unger as the new CEO of DMARC. Matt Unger recently completed a 6+ year stretch at the Food Bank of Iowa. Starting as Program Manager and finishing as Chief Operating Officer, Unger led the Food Bank of Iowa to record distribution. His leadership at Food Bank of Iowa also included the implementation of three new programs, a merger with the Food Bank of Southern Iowa, and oversight of the Food Bank’s warehouse remodel. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Unger spent more than a dozen years working in the world of political campaigns and management of state governme...

Life Happens

Life happens. You've probably heard that phrase a thousand times. But for many who are assisted by DMARC's Food Pantry Network, it can mean so much more. Meet "Maria" and "Lisa." Maria is Lisa's aunt. She's also a disabled veteran who is Lisa's sole guardian. Both Lisa and Maria have lived in Des Moines for most of their lives. Lisa is now a young teenager. Unfortunately, both of her parents have passed away. She has also lost vision in one eye, with the other eye losing sight as well. Today, Maria serves as Lisa's primary caregiver. Until a year ago she also served as the primary caregiver of both of her elderly parents. Since Maria's ...

Thank You for Your Support of Stamp Out Hunger® 2019

On Saturday, May 11, 2019, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held their 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger® food drive across the nation, and for the fourth year, the DMARC Food Pantry Network was the local beneficiary of the food drive in Greater Des Moines. That Saturday, letter carriers around the metro collected food donations from mailboxes, doorsteps, and grocery stores which were brought back to their local post offices, and then transported to the East Grandstands’ Hall of Law and Flame at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. All together, 66,055 pounds of food were collected during Stamp Out Hunger® 2019, along with cash ...

Announcing the Retirement of Sarai Rice

After 11 years of serving as Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council, I want to let you know that I will be retiring this summer. An open search for the next Executive Director of DMARC will begin immediately, with a new Executive Director selected by our Board of Directors by the end of June. I am proud to say that, with your support, DMARC has made great progress the past 11 years in providing healthy food and fresh produce to people living with food insecurity in our community. When I began in 2008, the Board of Directors had already initiated the process of redesigning its own structure. In the midst of that work, the ...