Some Iowa food banks are expanding their services to better meet the needs of hungry Iowans.

The Des Moines area’s DMARC Mobile Food Pantry will add four more stops to its schedule. That will provide a healthy, three-day supply of food to people who haven’t been able to get it at other locations. DMARC’s Luke Elzinga says the goal is to better reach the people the agency knows are in need.

“That’s because we’re being deliberate about the communities and locations we’re visiting,” Elzinga says. “We’re visiting a senior center where the majority of those people were not visiting a food pantry before.”

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is also announcing additional mobile food pantry stops as that region is experiencing increased demand. That agency’s executive director Barbara Prather says due to the federal government shutdown, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits for February were distributed early.  “Hopefully, they’re budgeting on a regular basis so that they’ll have money available the whole month and they won’t need us as often,” Prather says, “but if they do need us, that’s part of the reason for the extra distributions as well.”

The deadline for finding agreement to avoid another government shutdown is this Friday. If there’s another shutdown, that could bring another disruption in SNAP benefits for millions of people. Prather says weather-related school closings also shifted food distribution this winter and the pantries want to make sure schools and families have what they need.

(Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)