The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

December 18, 2012

Shelves begin to fill at the Food Bank of Southern Iowa

Helpful neighbors seemed to understand math of the situation

OTTUMWA — When they heard their neighbors were hungry, Wapello County residents started to respond.

“The day after the story [on our empty shelves] ran ... someone was waiting outside with a check when I came in in the morning,” said Neil Abbott, executive director of 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 in Ottumwa. That’s how the Food Bank of Southern Iowa program helps get food to senior citizens, disabled residents and the homeless in southeast Iowa.

The food bank hadn’t needed to ask for much money in the past. Corporate sponsors and government commodities (the “cheese” program) were able to fill much of the food bank supply requirements. Those programs have died off.

But when the cereal companies stopped donating, others stepped up to the plate, including local businesses and schools over the past few weeks. Individuals, too, have donated over the past several weeks, some writing checks for $1,000, others bringing in $100 in cash.

“People have been catching on to what [money] can do,” said Abbott.. “They get more bang for their buck — their money goes further.”

“Last month, the shelves were less than half full,” he said.

He estimates in November, the warehouse held 40-45 percent of what the area’s hungry needed. As of Monday, the warehouse was approaching 75 percent capacity.

Abbott originally admitted he was uncomfortable asking for money, but when he explained the situation publicly, people got it, he said.

When charitable residents stop at the food bank to make a $5 donation, they are, in a way, buying 70 pounds of food for the needy.

He said at the time that if people knew, they would be stunned at how much food gets donated when they give a few dollars to the food bank.

For 79 cents, a caring shopper can get a can of green beans for the food bank. Or a shopper can choose to give that money to the food bank instead. For 79 cents, Abbott can order just over five pounds of food.

After the Courier ran his story last month, he said, tons of food and more than $10,000 has been donated to the food bank.  That’s not counting the $100,000 gift made by the Legacy Foundation, which will be spent to buy rare bulk items like milk, then sold to food pantries at the food bank’s cost.

“Our goal isn’t making more money, our job is feeding hungry people,” he said.

Thanks to the people of southeast Iowa, Abbott said, they’ve been able to start getting back to that job in a big way.

For more information, contact the organization at foodbankofsoutherniowa.org or call 641-682-3403.

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 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

  • Wapello building remains county property OTTUMWA — An option to sell the Wapello building in downtown Ottumwa to River Hills Community Health Center was nixed by the Wapello County Board of Supervisors Tuesday evening. On March 5, River Hills Community Health Center CEO Richard Johnson wrot

    March 12, 2014

  • Officials hold line on Wapello budget

    OTTUMWA -- Taxpayers in Wapello can breathe a sign of relief. Taxes will go down and county services will not be cut. On Tuesday night, Wapello County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt its 2014-2015 budget with litt

    March 11, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National