Fighting food insecurity

Mobile pantry returns to St. Thomas this afternoon

—Daily Freeman-Journal file photo Volunteers set up for one of the past mobile food pantries at St. Thomas Aquinas last year. The food pantry will return to St. Thomas this afternoon from 4-6 p.m. For more information, contact the Food Bank of Iowa at (515) 564-0330.

The Mobile Food Bank of Iowa will return to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish today from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to help individuals overcome food insecurity.

Individuals are encouraged to bring bags, laundry baskets, or boxes to carry their food in. No I.D. is required.

According to the Iowa State University Extension, in food insecure households, access to food is limited by lack of money or other resources. A food secure household has access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

The Food Bank of Iowa has visited St. Thomas every other month since June of 2016 to provide Hamilton, Wright, Story, Franklin, and Webster County residents with food assistance.

According to estimations from the ISU Extension, 2,020 individuals or 13.1 percent of the Hamilton County population, are living in food insecure households. The number of individuals statewide who are living in food insecure households is estimated at 389,250, or 12.6 percent of the state’s population.

The Food Bank of Iowa approved St. Thomas as a location for the mobile food bank in June of 2017. Since then, the parish has served as the location every other month for clients in need of food items such as fresh fruit, pastry items, and cereal.

Poverty and food insecurity impact a significant amount of households in Hamilton County.

Organizers have seen the need for food items increase each new pantry event. The October food pantry served an estimated 77 people. The December food pantry served over 150 people. As awareness about the program spreads, the number of people who utilize the food pantry increases.

Volunteers from the National Honor Society, Knights of Columbus, St. Thomas attendees, community members, 4-H, Boy Scouts, and high school wrestlers have all helped with the event as it has progressed and grown since June. All Cultures Equal provides translations of food items on signs to assist the growing, diverse communities who visit the mobile pantry.

According to organizers, volunteers are always welcome to assist at the Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. food panty and the mobile food pantry.

The Mobile Food Pantry Program is free of charge to individuals in need. The food bank will be back at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish again on Tuesday, April 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. St. Thomas is located at 1000 Des Moines St.

Call the Food Bank of Iowa at (515) 564-0330 for more information.