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
  • 0617 OTT Wapello Co Fair color photo -L -M Come one, come all to the Wapello County Fair

    ELDON — The Wapello County Fair is just around the corner, kicking off with entries being welcomed at Wapello Hall and the Iowa Agricultural Hall from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, entries for competition will be received from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siegel, Rubel face off in forum OTTUMWA — For Steve Siegel, a political campaign is nothing new. For Tom Rubel, being the candidate is a first. Now they want the same job. Siegel and Rubel are seeking the Democratic nomination for SD 41, the Iowa Senate district which includes Ottu

    May 29, 2014

  • 0530 OTT Oak tatters picture color Oak leaves left in tatters

    OTTUMWA — Trees throughout Iowa have been terrorized by the likes of Emerald Ash Borer and other dangers in the past months and now oak trees throughout Iowa are in a little bit of more trouble because of a disease called oak tatters. Thankfully, tho

    May 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Help fight hunger OTTUMWA — The groups began with a question: How to better help Wapello County residents who don't have enough decent food. Next week, they'll decide if they've found any answers. The food security project, Growing Wapello Together, had small groups m

    May 28, 2014

  • Attempted murder trial set for July KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County man accused of attempted murder could head to trial in a remarkably short time. Dimitrious Royal has a trial date of July 15. If that date is when the trial actually begins, it would take place just more than 11 weeks

    May 28, 2014

  • Agency aces assessment OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it. "The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's som

    May 27, 2014

  • County backs bike rides OTTUMWA — Bike rides in Wapello County just received a personal push of goodwill from Wapello County Board of Supervisors. Tuesday, supervisors signed a resolution of support for three area bike rides to be conducted in June. The rides include the H

    May 27, 2014

  • 0527 OTT EMS week color photo -L -M ORHC celebrates EMS Week OTTUMWA — During National EMS week, May 18-24, Ottumwa Regional Health Center (ORHC) celebrated its staff, the community EMS providers and the importance of being prepared in emergency situations through education. The ambulance service at ORHC, also

    May 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moving into the future OTTUMWA — Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning joked after the board approved upgrading the county’s servers Tuesday. “You can put away your quills.” Jokes asides, Wapello County will now have more opportunity to maximize its server resources. The

    May 20, 2014

  • 0520 OTT mushroom provided -T -M Hidden treasure

    OTTUMWA — Yes, it's kind of like winning the lottery. A mushroom hunter and her family cheerfully acknowledged that feeling after stopping by the Ottumwa Courier on Monday. In one lucky search, they'd found hundreds of morels totaling 10 pounds. As u

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National