DES MOINES, Iowa — A call to action has been encouraging Des Moines community members to help keep their neighbors fed.
It started with a Facebook post from Des Moines Refugee Support, noting that a community fridge in Des Moines was empty.
Within hours, community members had the shelves overflowing with food.
That fridge, which belongs to North Des Moines Mutual Aid is located at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Des Moines. Rev. Lizzie Gillman is their lead pastor.
"What is unique about the North Des Moines community fridge is that it's open 24/7," Gillman said. "So for folks working second and third shift, they can come here, really at any time."
Gillman estimated that at its peak, the fridge has an average of 19 visitors an hour searching for food.
But there's a bit of a problem: the amount of people dropping off that food hasn't been able to keep up with demand.
"For every one person dropping off food, there are about seven individuals looking to pick up food," Gillman said.
And that's a gap that the community is working to address. Community members met at the church on April 25 to brainstorm ways to get more donations coming through the door, such as by collecting leftover food from local businesses.
But more immediately, members used the church kitchen to cook up meals that they were able to put onto the fridge's shelves.
"Whether you're a giver or a receiver, our church has made some fantastic relationships with our neighbors that we might not have known if it weren't for the fridge being on our property," Gillman said.
If you've got any food you'd like to donate, the North Des Moines Community Fridge accepts them 24 hours a day.