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How and where to donate food, groceries this holiday season

Several metro organizations are asking for food donations—here's what they're looking for.


Food Bank of Iowa

The Food Bank of Iowa is looking for both food and financial donations, but they "can stretch monetary donations so much farther," spokesperson Annette Hacker said.

Hacker added the food bank can deliver one meal for just 40 cents due to their partnerships with producers, aggressive retail food rescue and bulk purchasing power. You can donate online here.

However, food donations are still welcome and can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

Most-needed items:

  • Proteins (canned meat, canned fish)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned soup
  • Pasta sauce
  • Breakfast items (including cereal)
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Paper and personal products (toothpaste, soap, toilet paper)

Des Moines Area Religious Council

DMARC is collecting donations through their Red Barrel Program at area grocery stores. You can buy canned food and drop it off at the red barrels on your way out of the store.

DMARC says an even better way to help is by purchasing a $6 or $12 hunger sack, which is a grocery bag containing essentials for families in need.

You can donate online here or sign up to volunteer with the program here.

Hope Ministries

Hope Ministries will be collecting donations on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bethel Mission (1310 6th Ave in Des Moines) in preparation for their Christmas meal deliveries. There will be both a walk-in and drive-thru option.

Most-needed items:

  • Ready-to-serve dinner rolls
  • Cookies (pack two per baggie)
  • Ground beef, pork loin, bacon, ham
  • Milk, cheese, eggs, butter
  • #10 cans of green beans or mixed veggies
  • Condiments and salad dressing

Drake Little Pantry Project

The little pantries can be found all over Des Moines, offering residents the ability to pick up food whenever they need it. They're completely stocked by donations from the community. 

Nonperishable food donations are preferred, but hygiene supplies and seasonal items like wrapping and gift bags are also accepted. 

A map of all the locations can be found here.

Urbandale Food Pantry

The food pantry is seeking monetary donations to purchase in-demand items at a discount from retail partners. You can donate online here.

You can also donate food and personal care items during business hours at 7611 Douglas Ave, Suite 34 & 35. 

Most-needed items:

  • Canned goods (tuna, chicken, fruits, vegetables, soups, etc.)
  • Fresh produce (apples, bananas, potatoes, vegetables)
  • Boxed cereal, pasta, rice, granola or other grains
  • Milk
  • Crackers, chips, oatmeal, granola bars and other packaged snacks
  • Assorted nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Meals in a box (Rice-A-Roni, Hamburger Helper, Stove Top, mac & cheese, etc.)
  • Frozen meals
  • Cooking oils and dried spices

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