As the legislative session approaches, this is the time of the year I meet with organizations to learn more about their legislative priorities. I enjoy these meetings because it is enlightening to learn how organizations and groups impact the lives of our neighbors, families, and fellow Iowans. These personal tours are interesting to me because I get a firsthand look at the inner-workings of our valuable community organizations and get the opportunity to visit with their employees.
Several weeks ago, I toured the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry. Year after year, this remarkable organization impacts the lives of tens of thousands of people across central Iowa. If you are not familiar with the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry, I would highly encourage you to learn more about it.
After touring the DMARC warehouse, speaking with their employees, and learning more about the people who have been served for the last 40 years, I was told that more than half of the people utilizing DMARC are children under the age of 17 and older adults over the age of 55. Of the adults visiting the pantry, 90 percent of them work more than 30 hours per week.
These are hard-working Iowans who are making sacrifices in their monthly spending in order to meet their monthly financial obligations. In some cases, those spending cuts may be at the grocery store. DMARC is devoted to its mission of fighting food insecurity and helping our fellow central Iowans who are in need of food and even personal items including diapers.
Partnering with 13 area food pantries in the metro area, including Ankeny, the organization assisted 18,202 people and 7,646 households in the month of October. This is an increase from 16,600 individuals in September. In talking with DMARC staff members, they anticipate an even greater demand in December as the holidays approach.
During my tour, I learned the organization receives both cash and in-kind food donations to help distribute hundreds of thousands of food items annually to area residents. In fact, with its buying power, cash donations allow DMARC to purchase in food items in bulk, allowing it to reach more people.
There are no income requirements for anyone who visits a DMARC pantry. Families visiting DMARC will receive a monthly food box, which is a three-day supply of free food once a month. They may also receive daily items such as bread, produce, rice and meal packages. DMARC is truly a great organization doing helping our neighbors, families, and fellow Iowans.
If you are interested in making a donation to DMARC, you can visit https://www.dmarcunited.org/donate/donate-online/ to make your charitable gift.
Speaking of the approaching holidays, please be safe if you are traveling and enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.
Jack is a graduate of Iowa State University where he was a three-year starter at wide receiver for the Iowa State Cyclones football team. He finished his eligibility ranked in the top ten in all-time receiving yards and all-time receptions.