The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

October 31, 2012

Food banks find themselves in need

OTTUMWA — Iowa’s poorest counties now have less emergency food for families fighting the economy — and hunger.

 “The food pantries are saying, ‘Where’s the food? Where’s the food?’ And we don’t have the food,” said Maureen Myshock, an AmeriCorps-VISTA volunteer helping at the Food Bank of Southern Iowa.

Residents struggling financially can normally get some emergency groceries at local food pantries. Those pantries get the bulk of their food from that central food bank, which has its warehouse in Ottumwa.

“[Even] with winter coming, the Food Bank of Southern Iowa is unable to meet the volume of food requested from our 160 [registered] agencies,” said Myshock. “Federal, corporate and local donations have declined over the past year.”

In the past, because of corporate donations, government commodity programs and individual gifts, the food bank only charges partners a shared maintenance fee of 14 cents a pound for food.

That means if someone donated $5, they’d be donating the equivalent of 35 lbs. of food to a local pantry.

The food bank is still charging 14 cents per pound. There just isn’t enough food.

Neil Abbott, executive director of the Food Bank of Southern Iowa, said he still meets mothers, even at his church in Ottumwa, who describe pouring a half gallon of milk into a one gallon container, which they then fill the rest of the way with tap water. That way, the kids can at least have some milk with part of the nutrition they need.

And yes, there are individuals who milk the system. In a recent visit to Ottumwa, Jordan Vernoy, director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, acknowledged that those are the wild stories the media loves to report on.

While the public may know there are people with disabilities unable to work, as well as isolated elderly having a hard time making their retirement check stretch until the end of the month, they may be surprised to find most food recipients are actually “the working poor.” They make just enough at their job to keep the heat on, the car insurance up-to-date, the rent paid and the refrigerator stocked.

At least they make enough until a surprise medical bill lands in their lap, the car breaks down or the boss responds to a slow economy by avoiding raises or reducing everyone’s hours.

That’s when a local food pantry — supplied by a central food bank — was able to make sure a family has milk for the kids and basics  like flour, ground beef or venison and cans of vegetables.

That ability is in question now, Myshock said.

The Food Bank of Southern Iowa serves 13 counties, including Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren and Wapello counties.

Five of Iowa’s poorest counties are in the coverage area.

Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard color cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book

    ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

  • County considers hiring conservation aide OTTUMWA — On Tuesday morning, Wapello County Board of Supervisors will consider hiring a part-time conservation aide at its weekly board meeting. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board’s meeting room located on the third floor of the c

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Brush fire color photo 2 -T Brush fire breaks out on east side of city OTTUMWA — Late Friday morning, a fire broke out in a vacant area of trees and brush next to the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility. Both the Wapello County Rural Fire Department and Ottumwa Fire Department were called to the scene of the fire,

    April 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wapello County Courthouse.jpg Courthouse to receive facelift

    OTTUMWA — First, Chief Wapello received a facelift. Now, it’s the county courthouse’s turn. On Tuesday evening, Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved spending $139,000 for repair and maintenance of the historic courthouse. Karr Tuckpointing o

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Another health care option OTTUMWA — If you didn't get your "mandatory" health insurance by the deadline earlier this week, you may have another option. Or two. "I'd certainly keep trying," said Greg Kenning, a Wapello County supervisor. He said it's his understanding that the

    April 2, 2014

  • Trial set in child pornography case OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa man accused in a child pornography case will go on trial this summer. Rass Kerby Jr., is charged with enticing a minor to engage in a sex act or simulated sex act and possession of media of a minor engaged in a sex act. He was a

    April 2, 2014

  • Wanted: People who love history OTTUMWA — If you have a love for history, Wapello County has an interest in you. Wapello County Board of Supervisors is considering withdrawing from the State Historical Society’s Certified Local Government program unless interested people are willin

    April 1, 2014

  • 0530 OTT flood damaged bridge -L Bridge repair tops county's 5-year plan

    OTTUMWA — Road construction in Wapello County will be taking on a different look in the next three years. On Tuesday, County Engineer Brian Moore told the Wapello County Board of Supervisors bridge replacement will be a high priority. “We’ll have a h

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0321 OTT animal rescue league update color photo -L -M Animal van trial set

    OTTUMWA — Trial has been scheduled in the case that preceded the rescue of hundreds of animals in Drakesville. Roger Blew, 45, of Drakesville, has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faced in Ottumwa. Police charged Blew with one count

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National