A team of nine from the Iowa Conference Center sorted non-perishable items, checked expiration dates, and packaged items for the shelves at the Des Moines Area Religious Council
Food Pantry Network warehouse this week. The visit to DMARC’s distribution center was one of a series of mission events that Conference staff participates in each year.
Click to see the Conference Center team at work at the DMARC Food Pantry Network warehouse
Some 5000 unique households, which translates to some 16,000 individuals receive assistance from the Network in the Des Moines area each month according to Daniel Beck, the Network’s assistant director. An innovative geo-tracking approach helps the Network to bring fresh produce, perishable, and non-perishable items right to where the need is the greatest with the least opportunity. There are twelve pantries across the Des Moines area as well as from the new mobile pantry
, which so far has four regular stops, with a goal of expanding to 10 by year’s end.
The Conference Center nine helped “with donations coming through the door,” said Beck. “The donations come in from organizations, congregations, and individuals, and schools everywhere throughout the community.” He added, “What the volunteers work on mostly is sorting, date-checking, and sometimes counting the number of items, and then getting everything ready to go into inventory – the open shelves of the warehouse where pallets of food are staged, ready to go out to pantries.” Fresh produce comes in and goes right out, within a 24-hour turn around.
The presence of the Food Pantry Network “is a great help for the community,” Beck noted. “The demand is very high in the Polk Country area and there’s a great response from the community. What we’re doing is helping out a lot and the volunteers make a big difference.”