DES MOINES, Iowa – Food Bank of Iowa has extended an offer to resume partnership with the West Des Moines Human Services food pantry following conversations with West Des Moines Mayor Russ Trimble, CEO Michelle Book announced today.
A similar offer has been extended to Polk County River Place and Polk County Northside food pantries. Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell said he would bring the matter forward at the next Board of Supervisors meeting.
All three pantries had been Food Bank of Iowa partners until Nov. 3, when the Des Moines Area Religious Council, which holds the 501(c)(3) agreements for each of them, declined to move forward with new contract terms due to concerns about how it would impact the amount of food they would have to distribute to those in need.
‘Our focus is, and always has been, on feeding people’
“These three pantries were not in a position to sign the contract addendum themselves. It is only right that we extend this opportunity,” Book said. “Our focus is, and has always been, on feeding people. The recent narrative in our community has been hurtful and disruptive to all of us working so hard to fight food insecurity. It’s time to put this distraction behind us for the good of those we serve.”
The new agreement for the West Des Moines Human Services food pantry will be between Food Bank of Iowa and the Friends of West Des Moines Human Services, a 501 (c)(3) organization, Mayor Trimble said. The pantry will abide by Food Bank of Iowa’s amended partner agreement requiring a minimum monthly distribution of one, three-day supply of food to those in need. The pantry will continue to receive food from both the DMARC food bank and again from Food Bank of Iowa once the contract has been agreed to by both parties.
‘A way to move forward’
“We think we’ve found a way to move forward and resolve some of the concerns expressed about the contract terms,” said Mayor Trimble. “I’m pleased all parties have agreed to work with each other again because it’s important to recognize how these decisions impact the pantries and the people responsible for providing food to those in need.”
Trimble also indicated that follow-up discussions will be needed to make sure the pantry can recover lost food rescue and USDA commodities provided by Food Bank of Iowa.
“I will be sharing this offer with the other stakeholders at tonight’s meeting so that they have an opportunity to discuss how we can make this work,” he said. “I am extremely grateful to Michelle Book for reaching out to us and giving us this opportunity to find the best path forward.”
Book said she would consider resuming a relationship with the remaining DMARC affiliates formerly partnered with Food Bank of Iowa if each agrees to provide a minimum monthly distribution of one, three-day supply of food. Each holds its own 501 (c)(3) designation.
“We will gladly continue the conversation if any of these agencies wish to reach out,” Book said.
In response to escalating demand, Food Bank of Iowa in September amended its partner agreement to provide more equitable food access across the 55 counties it serves. The food bank asked each of its 300 pantry partners to provide a minimum monthly distribution of one, three-day supply of food to those in need. Nearly all (290) pantries agreed – including four of the state’s largest pantries connected to DMARC. The remaining 10 DMARC affiliates did not, citing a strain on resources, which ended their partnerships with Food Bank of Iowa on Nov. 3.
Annette Hacker, Food Bank of Iowa, 515-867-2885, email@example.com
About Food Bank of Iowa
In its 40th year, Food Bank of Iowa provides food for Iowa children, families, seniors and veterans to lead full and active lives, strengthening the communities where they live. Serving 55 of Iowa’s 99 counties, Food Bank of Iowa has delivered nearly 20 million pounds of food to its 700 partners in 2022.