Donations to the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s Food Pantry Network are not keeping up with demand. The Network is seeing more people looking for food than ever in its 40-year history.
The Religious Council provides food to 13 pantries around Greater Des Moines. In November, it supplied 18,415 people with provisions, a record number. The Council’s executive director Sarai Rice says there has been a steady increase in demand since the Great Recession.
“For people in the lower-income brackets, things have simply not improved," she says. "They're flat or worse than they used to be, so I think that’s part of it, just persistent poverty.”
Rice says, in some cases, the wages paid to working people are not adequate to cover basic needs.
“I think it’s just persistent inability to access everything a person needs in order to be at that basic subsistence level,” she says.
Rice encourages cash donations, although food can also be dropped off at the red barrels located in some Des Moines-area grocery stores. The web site for the Des Moines Area Religious Council is www.dmarcunited.org.