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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Food Bank of Iowa has supplied the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s food pantries for nearly 50 years. Now, a majority of them will find other ways to fill their shelves because of a contract dispute.

The Food Bank of Iowa announced eleven of DMARC’s fifteen affiliated food pantries did not sign an updated contract and will no longer cooperate with the agency.

Food Bank of Iowa president Michelle Book explained the rift in a statement to WHO 13:

Food Bank of Iowa asked each pantry partner to provide a minimum of one three-day supply of food per month to clients within their pantry’s designated service area. Many pantries already do this and some provide much more. All existing pantry partners elected to move forward under the new contract terms, with the exception of eleven DMARC-affiliated pantries.

Michelle Book, Food Bank of Iowa President and CEO

DMARC said the terms of the contract were hard to fulfill, since it got the amendment in September and were expected to sign off on it at the beginning of October. Their current policy is to have a three-day supply of essential food per month across its affiliates, not at every pantry.

DMARC communications manager Luke Elzinga said that was too drastic a step to take with the supply they had on hand.

“We really were hoping that we could have some sort of extension. We were not given much time,” Elzinga said. “Some pantries did not have a board meeting before the agreement was supposed to be signed. We’re heading into our busiest month of the year and we anticipate that November 2022 will be our busiest month ever.”

Four DMARC pantries did sign the new deal with Food Bank of Iowa: Catholic Charities, Central Iowa Shelter and Services, Urbandale Food Pantry, and Bidwell Riverside Food Pantry.