The Ottumwa Courier

March 29, 2013

Food Bank of Southern Iowa makes good use of federal grant

CINDY TOOPES
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Everyone likes to have their cupboards filled with food, and Food Bank of Southern Iowa is no different.

Recently, the food bank received about $13,000 from  the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, a federal government agency, and the funds were earmarked for only Wapello County, according to Neal Abbott, the food bank’s executive director. The food included 25 to 30 cases of peanut butter and canned chili.

“Hunger will always be here, but I think we’re supplying some of the need,” Abbott said. “There are lots of pantries, and it’s a lot of food."

All the cities in Wapello County received goods from the recent drive and that included Eddyville, Eldon and Blakesburg. When the various town representatives arrived, the event “was exciting,” according to Abbott. He also said the shipment was exciting because it was the first one for Blakesburg.

“That was nice for Blakesburg because they could come here instead of going to the pantries in Albia, Centerville or Bloomfield,” Abbott said. “It’s nice to have it here, and that way people don’t have to drive far.”

Abbott was also happy to talk about the Legacy Foundation’s grant for the food bank. The grant is for a revolving food fund.  He said the food items included macaroni and cheese, corn, beans and cereal.

“We gave them a list of our top needs, which they can purchase at wholesale,” he said.

Abbott was also pleased the food bank could purchase at wholesale because the bank will save money by not buying everything.

“Then one of the Legacy Foundation members had a good idea,” Abbott said. “The really great part of it is the funds won’t be used for a bank. The Legacy pool will be there to buy more products.”

Abbott also noted the food bank is open for food drives and the food donations are doing OK.

Those interested in donating food items should call the Food Bank first.

“We accept frozen items but nothing homemade,” he said.

The school year is almost over, and that means summertime is just around the corner.

“Summer is more of a strain on the food bank because the kids are out of school and eat at home,” he said.

Abbott offered a quick tour of the Food Bank’s new location at the corner of Main and McLean streets and said the facility is a good one.

“It’s been up for almost a year,” he said. “The newness hasn’t worn off.”

For information, contact the Food Bank of Southern Iowa at 641-682-3403.