Wapello County Emergency Food and Shelter program receives $14,857 from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. They plan to expand their program and help other non-profits in the area.

OTTUMWA — There’s a popular saying that “money can’t buy happiness,” but for Wapello County Emergency Food and Shelter Program, that’s not the case at all.

“We were certainly happy to receive funding for phase 36 and that process,” local board Chair of Wapello County Emergency Food and Shelter Brain Dunn said. “It will be a lot of work, but this will really help stretch more dollars to serve the community.”

The program was awarded $14,587 by the national board chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. Dunn said they are now responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds as well as additional funds available through this funding phase.

“This is for phase 36,” Dunn said, “this phase gives that fiscal year more flexibility to stretch this award to the county. We are not just responsible for recommending these funds, but also accepting proposals for use of dollars.”

Dunn said these funds will help supplement and expand the capacity of the emergency and food shelter and others in surrounding areas, too. While Dunn and other board members want to help in any way possible, he said funding is never going to be guaranteed.

“The board has to make tough decisions and make decisions on how they see them,” he said. “There’s not guaranteed funding because of a formula at a national level that determines the amount people get based on poverty rates or other factors.”

Even if it isn’t guaranteed, the press release from the food and shelter program said there’s a possibility to receive funds if an organization has “private voluntary non-profits or units of government, are eligible to receive federal funds, have an accounting system, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board.”

Dunn said that even though the award can only go so far, it’s not enough to meet all the needs of nonprofit, governmental and faith-based organizations in Wapello County. Despite this factor, Dunn said the amount can still help the different organizations.

“These dollars will help rebuild the program,” he said. “This money will help a dozen families at the lower income level. There are needs in the community, every little bit helps. At different organizations these program dollars are designed to help stabilize folks out of a crisis and provide shelter for immediate need.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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