Food for all: Muscatine County Food Support Fund created

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Over the last nine months, Muscatine’s food pantries have had to work together more than ever to ensure everyone who needs food gets enough. To support pantries’ continued collaboration, The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine created the Muscatine County Food Support Fund.

As area food pantries, both in the city of Muscatine and across the county, looked for ways to cooperate more effectively, they came up with the idea of starting the Muscatine County Food Support Fund. “In the spirit of collaboration, it was our goal to find a way for all of the food pantries and agencies that distribute food to those in need in our area to have a way to share resources and streamline donations,” shared Jennifer Leirness, resource development officer for Muscatine Center for Social Action: “The idea of a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine came about, and it seemed like a perfect solution. The great stewardship of funds that the Community Foundation provides, combined with one easy way to contribute, fit the need best.”

In order for a food pantry in Muscatine County to access this new fund, they must first partner with Riverbend Food Bank, a regional organization. By partnering with this organization, food pantries can help improve regional data about food insecurity and access large quantities of food at better prices. Once a food pantry partners with Riverbend Food Bank, they will have an equal opportunity to receive funding from the Muscatine County Food Support Fund to pay for their purchases.

If you would like to support any of Muscatine County’s food pantries, Leirness encourages you to consider contributing to the Muscatine County Food Support Fund. “A donated dollar has the potential to be stretched much farther than if it were spent at a traditional grocery store,” she explained: “For example, MCSA was able to purchase 25 cases of cereal for only about $50, resulting in about 18 cents per box. Additionally, fresh produce is often included for free when purchasing an order through a partner like Riverbend.”

Using Muscatine County Food Support Fund money to get food through Riverbend Food Bank also allows area food pantries to access food from national programs, such as Feeding America and others. These wider donation pools help food pantries better customize their offerings to match what local residents need. “While donations of food are always appreciated, having options means that those receiving food can have a bit more variety, perishable items, special food for holidays, etc.” outlined Leirness.

Anyone interested in giving to the Muscatine County Food Support Fund may do so online by visiting the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine’s website, or by calling them at 563-264-3863.

Those who would still like to donate food to area pantries may do so as well. MCSA’s food pantry continues to accept donations of sealed unexpired nonperishable foods at their physical location at 312 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine. They also take sealed fresh dairy and meat products, but ask that anyone donating those products call ahead to 563-264-3278 so that they can make sure they have fridge or freezer space available.