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DMARC breaks single-day record as Iowans struggle with high food prices

On November 1, DMARC broke its single-day record by serving over 1,500 individuals at their pantries.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A hearty Thanksgiving meal is one of the cornerstones of the holiday. But with prices on the rise across the country, it's getting a lot more difficult for Iowans to keep everyone happy at dinnertime.

"We're on the losing end, and it's not fair. I worked all my life and I don't really like going to the food bank, but you got to eat," said Lynde Morgan, a Des Moines resident.

It's not just your Thanksgiving turkey that'll be a little more expensive this year; according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices across the board are up nearly 11% compared to 2021.

And those rising prices are putting a lot of pressure on local pantries to make up their difference. At DMARC, officials said that on November 1, they had their busiest day ever, as more than 1,500 people were served across their entire pantry system.

"When you look at what's been happening the last few months, we've been around 19,000, 20,000 unique individuals each month, we think we're going to be in that same neighborhood here in November," said Matt Unger, CEO of DMARC.

One thing that's helped people, according to some Iowans who spoke to Local 5—sharing that burden with others. Most of us won't be eating a full Thanksgiving dinner all by ourselves.

"Especially when it's a shared meal. It's a family meal, extended family meal. And so those expenses get shared either one way or another," said Freida Peoples, a Des Moines resident.

While Iowans do what they can to make ends meet, there may still be some worries on the horizon for local pantries. They're keeping pace for now, but as the holidays wrap up, they're looking ahead to an uncertain future.

"We try to get a month or two ahead with our purchases so that we know we're backfilling those things that we expect to be gone, so we've been okay so far, but it's something we're really concerned about as we come on to the new year here," Unger said.

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