DCH mobile food pantry helps hundreds with free food


The Dallas County Hospital, in partnership with the Food Bank of Iowa and the Hunger-Free Dallas County initiative, hosted its first mobile food pantry Wednesday from 4–6 p.m. in the hospital’s south lower level employee parking lot.

More than 100 people brought bags, laundry baskets and boxes to carry away food. The mobile food pantry offers free food to anyone in need of assistance.

“The mobile food pantry will be coming out every other month to DCH throughout the next year,” said Kari Severson, laboratory manager at the Dallas County Hospital and the hospital’s point person for the Hunger-Free Dallas County initiative. Severson said the next DCH mobile food pantry will be held the fourth Wednesday in August.

Jennifer Walters, community health coordinator with the Dallas County Public Health Nursing Services, said about 6,500 people in Dallas County are food insecure. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a food-insecure person or family frequently runs out of food, skips meals, cannot afford balanced meals or reduces portions in order to feed children.

A recent study by the United Way of Central Iowa found about one-third of Iowans do not earn enough money to cover the basic costs of living, such as food. In towns like Perry and Minburn, more than 40 percent of the population is income-vulnerable.

Jennifer Walters
Jennifer Walters

“Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to decrease food insecurity and increase community support systems, volunteerism and the use of community resources,” Walters said. “We want to ensure that everyone, including our most vulnerable citizens, have access to resources to meet their basic needs.”

The Hunger-Free Dallas County project was born in the fall of 2014 through a partnership of the Hunger-Free Iowa Initiative, the Dallas County Department of Health and local volunteers interested in battling hunger in Dallas County.

A number of passionate volunteers and anti-hunger groups in Dallas County are partners in the Hunger-Free Dallas County project. The groups include:

  • Adel Good Samaritan Food Pantry
  • Dallas County Community Services
  • Dallas Center Food Pantry
  • Dallas County Hospital
  • Dallas County Public Health Department
  • Eat Greater Des Moines
  • Food Bank of Iowa
  • Heart of Iowa Regional Transportation Authority (HIRTA)
  • Hy-Vee
  • Mercy Health Network
  • New Opportunities
  • Perry Area Food Pantry
  • United Way of Central Iowa
  • Waukee Area Christian Services

For more information about Hunger-Free Dallas County or to volunteer, call Jennifer Walters at 515-993-1764 or email jennifer.walters@dallascountyiowa.gov. For more information about the Hunger-Free Iowa initiative, visit the Hunger-Free Iowa website, or call the Food Bank of Iowa at 515-564-0330.

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  1. This is all well and fine. I applaud DCH and all its supporters for these efforts. Still, wouldn’t it be preferable to do away with our current state of economic feudalism and insist on socioeconomic justice to begin with? Stated simply, that extra morsel you eat after you’re already full is oftentimes taken right out of the mouth of another who hasn’t had enough.

  2. Dallas County Hospital has so many great things going on for our community. They held a free Health Fair last weekend, now this free service for our community. This is a wonderful service from Hunger-Free Dallas County. It seems that every time I turn around there is yet another service or program offered by the great crew at Dallas County Hospital. Perry is very lucky to have them as part of our community. They support our community in so many ways. Plus we have a hospital and all their services right here in town. Thank you to the entire Dallas County Hospital staff.


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