DES MOINES, Iowa – Food Banks across Iowa see increase in donations during coronavirus pandemic.
Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel donated 2,775 pounds of food to Des Moines Area Religious Council.
Prairie Meadows President and CEO Gary Palmer said, “We had a lot of perishable foods like eggs, milk and different products and we shared it and didn’t want it to go to waste.”
DMRAC Communications Manager Luke Elzinga said the donation went straight to its pantries.
“At this point we feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to continue on getting food in and out through the pantry, it just may be not certain items,” Elzinga said.
On Thursday, the Iowa Wild and its partner Mercedes-Benz of Des Moines made the decision to partner with the Food Bank of Iowa to help families affected by COVID-19 and create a community relief campaign.
The Iowa Wild said it would match all donations through the first $1,000.
Iowa Wild President Todd Fredrickson said the organization raised over $6,000 within the first hour.
“These times they show resilience amongst everybody to say hey what can I do, what’s my part. Obviously, we have a large audience and we’ve got some tremendous fans that have been very supportive of us,” Fredrickson said.
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Food Bank of Iowa Communications Manager Dylan Lampe said the nonprofit has lessened its volunteer staff so there is less person-to-person contact.
“We are also really focusing on creating food packs, and those are around 20 pound worth of food in bags or boxes that we can set up and deliver in a kind of a drive-through fashion where folks pull up to a site and they pop their trunk. We got volunteers to put those boxes or bags in their trunk so it minimizes the person-to-person contact,” Lampe said.
Elzinga said DMARC saw 96 new people using their pantry’s on Tuesday.
“As of Tuesday’s numbers I guess we’ve seen a 33 percent increase in food pantry use since March of last year at the same time,” Elzinga said.
Elzinga said DMARC is taking extra precautions to make sure its volunteers feel safe.
“The volunteer base is typically retired people, so when you’ve got people’s ages 60 plus being at a higher risk and being told to take extra precautions we’ve seen a lot of volunteers canceling,” Elzinga sais.
Both the Food Bank of Iowa and DMARC said cash donations is better during the pandemic than food donations.
Loffredo Fresh Foods announced it will be distributing a mix of fresh produce, dairy and dry goods at no cost to people Friday, March 20th at 2:00 p.m. until supplies run out at the north parking lot of Wells Fargo Arena. It is located at 233 Center Street, Des Moines.