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Sioux City Food Pantry In 'Food Desert' Area Being Evicted, Searching For New Home

Katie Peikes
The Midtown Family Community Center's food pantry serves more than 5,000 people each month, including at least 3,000 children.

A Sioux City food pantry that is being evicted is looking at its next steps.

Staff at the Midtown Family Community Center are searching for a new home. The building they've used to serve people for the past 11 years has been sold, and they’re being evicted this month. The pantry serves more than 5,000 people each month, including at least 3,000 children.
Janet Reynolds, the center’s coordinator and the president of the Jones Street Neighborhood Coalition, says it’s going to be “a very big loss” for the community when they leave. She called the area of Sioux City where the pantry is located, “a food desert."

“One, because there’s not a lot of grocery stores to purchase groceries and two, because of how densely populated the area is and the fact that the majority of the people that live in this area are below poverty level,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds added that around 75 percent of the people who visit the pantry walk to it.

“They don’t own vehicles,” she said. “They don’t have the ability to get to the store easily.”

The center serves free school lunch to kids over the summer and has provided it to 80 kids so far this week, she said. They also offer a free meal on Saturday and a 4-H program.

The center has not had to pay rent or utilities to the Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Inc., the previous owner of the building. Reynolds says staff were told they can stay through the summer if they come up with a few thousand dollars to cover utilities.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.