URBANDALE, Iowa — With record numbers filing for unemployment, Patty Sneddon-Kisting with the Urbandale Food Pantry has seen the fallout first hand.
“We’ve seen a lot of new families checking into the food pantry. A lot of families who have never used our service before or maybe not been to a pantry in a really long time,” said Sneddon-Kisting.
The increased need requires an increase in operation and costs, but for many nonprofits it can be unattainable. “I think everything that we had planned or most pantries had planned went out the window,” Sneddon-Kisting said.
Endow Urbandale Community Fund, which provides around $15,000 annually in grants to the city’s nonprofit organizations, is digging deeper. “We have created this emergency relief fund,” said Steve Lytle, who serves as Endow Urbandale’s Board and as the Grants and Fundraising Chair.
The idea of the relief fund for nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organizations impacted by COVID-19 began just last week with the original plan of matching up to $10,000 in community donations. Recently, two Urbandale residents said they’d each match up to $5,000.
Lytle said, “We’ve got $20,000 in matching funds, so the first $20,000 that comes into the fund will be matched dollar for dollar.” It’s money that could help keep community-based groups afloat. “Increased needs from their inability to raise funds in other ways like they do now. Donations may go down in certain aspects of their fundraising, which we maybe can fill some gaps,” said Lytle.
Sneddon-Kisting says some items require the food pantry to buy with cash, which is getting thin. “It’s going to be hard to get certain foods. Meats are becoming scarce, canned vegetables, things like that, so when we are looking at potentially purchasing those items ourselves, having Endow Urbandale and other organizations is vital to making sure we can still feed the need in Polk County.
The Endow Urbandale Board says another organization that may benefit from the generosity is the Urbandale Community School District. Unexpected expenses during the pandemic may add up. “The district is providing computers for kids who can’t afford computers or they are paying for Wi-Fi service for kids that can’t afford Wi-Fi service. That may be putting a hole in their budget and our grants can help.”
Monday night the Urbandale Community School District voted unanimously to pay for around 400 families with kids in the district that do not have internet access for distance learning. School board members struck a deal with Mediacom at $10 per family and no installation cost. The district believes the cost to the district will be around $8,000 for two months.
Endow Urbandale is potentially filling that hole with a community’s helping hand. “This is Urbandalians helping Urbandalians,” said Lytle.
Organizations do not have to be located in Urbandale to apply, but they must be a nonprofit 501 (C) (3) or governmental agency that also helps benefit the Urbandale community. You can apply or donate here: https://endowurbandale.org/