CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Food pantries in eastern Iowa have had a whirlwind of a year helping make sure area families don’t go hungry.
For one eastern Iowa community food bank, a short-supply of groceries isn’t an issue. Jane Suiter, the Linn Community Food Bank’s board president, said their main concern right now isn’t the supply of groceries – but finding volunteers to actually distribute the food.
Suiter said on average, they’re serving around 1,400 people a month and 30 people a day. Some items people receive in a bag from the pantry include bread, a choice of meat, toilet paper, and more.
The Linn Community Food Bank is also giving people an egg and milk coupon that is redeemable at Hyvee on 1st Avenue or Save A Lot on J Street. This is so the pantry can save storage space in their coolers.
The community food bank previously only allowed people to pick up groceries 12 times a year, but since the pandemic, they’ve dropped that limit and people can come in every day if they are in need.
“We’re just trying to get more people to use our services because we do have the resources that we can service more people. I don’t know if we’re the best-kept secret in the world or what the deal is, but we haven’t seen as many people during this time of need as we did when we had requirements before,” Suiter said.
The Linn Community Food Bank is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and no application is required to pick up groceries. Suiter said if people are looking for help, all they have to do is call and come to the front lobby to pick up their groceries. For the food banks pick up location and contact, click here.
One other Cedar Rapids food pantry is seeing a different scenario at the start of 2021.
Kim Reem, Mission of Hope’s executive director, said since the Christmas holiday, they’ve seen donations come in less and less. Reem said she’s getting worried as their shelves are starting to get more empty.
Since the pandemic began last March, Mission of Hope has helped 66 families in need of their food pantry services.
Reem said since then, nearly 200 new people have registered for their Friday pick-up program that supplies people with food on the weekends.
She says fewer people are coming in for lunch every day, but more people than ever are accessing their food pantry to pick up items.
“When I was on the board of director back in 2014, I came in one day and there was just a can of pumpkin pie filling on the shelves in the pantry and that was all that was there. But, we’ve kind of turned things around and since I’ve been here as executive director in 2016, this is the barest I’ve seen the shelves in here,” Reem said.
Before donations are given out, Mission of Hope does require an application and appointment to help properly assess the needs of each person or family.
The food pantry is open Monday through Friday, and anyone can come to grab a hot lunch to-go without filling out an application from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. any day of the week. For Mission of Hope’s contact and pick up information, click here.
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