Filling a need

Still time to donate to UDMO food pantry for the holiday season

It’s the season for giving back. As the spirit of giving returns, Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. hopes to inspire Hamilton County residents to donate holiday fixings and other needed items this winter.

The pantry is always in need of food. Individuals can donate non-perishable food items and non-food items to the UDMO food pantry any time during the year. As the holidays approach, the need for food at UDMO increases.

“As people prepare for the holiday, we try to make up Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets to hand out to our clients,” said Jamie Ragland, Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. Outreach Specialist.

“This year we were fortunate enough to have the Webster City Middle School put together some Thanksgiving Baskets,” said Ragland. “We would also like to thank St. Thomas and Williams United Methodist Church for their food drive donations. This time of year the food in the pantry goes fast, so we’re always in need to stock up.”

Possible items to donate include canned goods like corn, green beans and cranberry sauce. Boxed potato and stuffing mixes are also a great item to give as the holidays approach.

Households can get a full food pantry every three months. During the months the household doesn’t qualify for a full food pantry, they can receive surplus food, which is a bag of groceries and meat every two weeks up until their next pantry. Occasionally UDMO does have non-food items for low-income households that they can receive every three months. UDMO has some diapers and wipes in the pantry as well. UDMO receives bread and pastry items from Hy-Vee to hand out every Tuesday and Thursday.

In order to be eligible for the UDMO food pantry, the household has to be within the Iowa Department of Human Services income guidelines. The household does not need to provide proof of income, they just need to fill the form out and let UDMO know if they are within the income guidelines.

Individuals can drop off food and non-food items at 711 Seneca St. in Webster City. UDMO also accepts monetary donations.

“Feel free to put together your own Holiday Basket to donate and we will give it to a family in need,” Ragland said.

UDMO has multiple programs: Swim Passes, Back to School, Coats for Kids, Chore, Bikes for Tikes, the Baby’s Room, and the Food Pantry. Right now the UDMO office is busy with energy assistance.

“We are still accepting NEW coats for our Coats for Kids Program,” said Ragland. “Although, we ended the Coats for Kids application process, we will still help a child in need of a coat, if we have it available in the office.”

UDMO is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The office closes from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch. The food pantry is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Please check for signs on the door for any additional closings. For more information, contact UDMO at (515) 832-6451 or visit

“Please stop into the office if you have any questions about applying for our services,” Ragland said.

“We are dedicated to helping build stronger communities by addressing the effects of poverty on individuals and families.” – This is our mission statement. Our purpose is to help low-income families in need,” Ragland said.