DES MOINES, Iowa — High food costs, a lack of affordable housing, and cuts to SNAP benefits are taking a toll on metro families.

A new report from the Des Moines Area Religious Council shows that between July 2022 and July 2023, a record number of people visited its food pantries.

Using data gathered from intake at the food pantries, DMARC was able to identify the most likely person to visit a food pantry as, “A White – Not Hispanic woman who graduated high school, has one child, is living below the poverty line, does not receive SNAP benefits, is in and out of employment, and only visits a food pantry once per year.”

The report also said almost one out of every three visitors to a DMARC food pantry was a first-time food pantry visitor.

“When you look at how many people are just one small expense, something breaks down with your car. You don’t have options for transportation. You’ve got big expenses going back to school, you name it. There’s always going to be something that could push people outside of their ability to afford — fill in the blank. And so especially this time of the year and what we’ve seen just over this period of time that we looked at with this study that’s been a bigger issue for more and more folks and more people are coming to a food pantry for the first time or the first time in a long time,” said Blake Willadsen, Marketing & Communications Manager for DMARC.

DMARC says the hope of the study is to get more people involved in fighting food insecurity. If you’d like to volunteer or donate you can find more information at