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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'We don't know what to expect': As pandemic continues, food pantries brace for holidays

Food pantries are seeing an increase in families utilizing their services through the pandemic in Iowa.

URBANDALE, Iowa — The pandemic continues to take a toll on families in Iowa, and food pantries like the Urbandale Food Pantry are seeing an uptick in families using their services. 

"The last month I think we checked in 76 brand new families that have never utilized our services in the past," said Patty Sneddon-Kisting, the executive director of the Urbandale Food Pantry. 

The pantry is adapting to the increase in families by adding extra food to kits. 

"So what used to be a three-day supply of food is now five, six or seven-day supply of food, depending on the day," Patty said.

Last November, the Urbandale Food Pantry served 1,400 people, the most they have ever served. This year they're expecting another increase, and so are other pantries in the metro. 

"We're, honestly, nervous about what November might bring," said Matt Unger, the CEO of Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network. "We've been seeing numbers increase each month over the last five months. We're gearing up for November, but we don't know what to expect."

Volunteers are working around the clock to make sure their fellow Iowans are getting the food they need to get by, but there's still a lot to do. 

Donations are being accepted at both of these pantries now. Details on donating to the Urbandale Food Pantry can be found here, and the DMARC Food Pantry Network information can be found here

The Urbandale Food Pantry is in Urbandale, however that doesn't mean you have to live their to use their services. All that is needed is a photo ID for any adult in the home and any ID for children.