DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Area Religious Council collects donations for food pantries, and this summer they have seen a record need for assistance from Iowa’s hungry.

Matt Unger, the CEO of DMARC, said that the level of donations hasn’t kept pace with the need and that pandemic benefits and inflation are to blame.

“I think both between folks not having as much to do extra for those you know to help out their neighbors we have seen our donations creep down a little bit,” Unger said.

With low supplies and high needs, donations to food pantries are needed more than ever. But not all donations are equal. Healthy foods are in higher demand than others.

“We’re helping folks maintain a healthy and active lifestyle not just giving them food,” Unger said, “We don’t want to complicate any other issues that folks may be facing when healthcare costs are what they are so healthy food is really at a premium for us.”

Here are some types of food items that are especially helpful:

  • Low Sugar Cereals: some cereals have tons of sugar which isn’t healthy. Opting to donate healthier low sugar cereals makes a big difference
  • Rice and Pasta: Rice and Pasta are food items that are easy to cook and have lots of nutrients to support people.
  • Low Sodium and Reduced Fat Food Items: Lots of food have lower sodium or reduced-fat versions that are healthier

To learn more about where and what to donate visit DMARC’s website.