DES MOINES, Iowa (October 21, 2014)— From month to month in 2014, the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s Food Pantry Network has seen double digit percentage increases in use compared to last year. In September of this year, DMARC food pantry partners served 4,738 families, a 19.1% increase compared to 3,978 families served in September 2013.
In November 2010, during the midst of the recession, DMARC food pantry partners served a record 5,291 families. It can be expected that DMARC will set a new record high number of families served in November of this year. Doing so will only take a 9.0% increase in use, a number that has been exceeded in every single month of 2014.
“Since January 2014, DMARC has served over 2,700 families that say they have never had to use a food pantry before,” said DMARC Food Pantry Network Director Rebecca Whitlow. “This is a disturbing trend in our community when families that were previously able to make ends meet are now in need of food assistance.”
“I think it’s important to know what’s driving these kinds of numbers,” said DMARC Executive Director Rev. Sarai Schnucker Rice. “Since cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) went into effect in November, the DMARC Food Pantry Network is serving more people in Greater Des Moines than ever before. In addition, as the economy improves and families make a little more money, they stop qualifying for SNAP even though they’re still thousands of dollars away from a sustainable income.”
DMARC is not alone in meeting the needs of the Greater Des Moines community. With only 2% of revenue coming from governmental sources, DMARC relies almost entirely on individuals, partner organizations, companies, and congregations to stock the Food Pantry Network warehouse shelves with food for our neighbors.
“As always, every gift to DMARC, no matter the size, makes a difference,” said DMARC Development Director Kristine Frakes. “Just $2.50 provides a full day of food for a child. A $50.00 donation equals sixty meals to help nourish a family of four for five days. A gift of $1,000 means 6,000 nutritious food servings and hunger relief for 400 of our neighbors.”
How can you help? Monetary donations always go farther in purchasing food, as it can be purchased in bulk for maximum savings. Organize a food drive at your church, school, or place of employment. Volunteer at the DMARC Food Pantry Network warehouse or one of 12 area partner food pantries. Visit dmreligious.org/donate for more information and ways to contribute to DMARC and the Food Pantry Network. We thank you for your help in making sure everyone in Greater Des Moines has something to eat!
MovetheFood is a DMARC-led initiative to address the entire food system in Greater Des Moines, building on nearly 40 years of food assistance work, catalyzing fresh generations, and engaging new constituencies to further support a vision for a day when everyone in Polk County has enough to eat.
The DMARC Food Pantry Network, a cornerstone of the MovetheFood initiative, consists of 12 separate pantry sites, a centralized warehouse, and numerous community partners. It is the largest food pantry system in Iowa. Pantry sites are located in West Des Moines, Ankeny, Johnston, and Urbandale, with eight sites in Des Moines. The DMARC Food Pantry network helps meet short-term food needs when families do not have enough to eat. Once each month, families can receive a free, five-day supply of nutritionally balanced food. In 2013, DMARC assisted more than 38,000 individuals in the greater Des Moines community; half of whom were children and youth.
DMARC is the acronym for the Des Moines Area Religious Council, an interfaith organization with a core membership of over 130 congregations from four faith traditions. Recipient of the 2012 Live United Advocate Award from the United Way of Central Iowa, DMARC provides a common means of responding to basic human needs and a context for interfaith dialogue.