People lined up at the Bidwell food pantry to receive a turkey or ham for Thanksgiving.

A food pantry in central Iowa that serves the most people in the state saw its busiest month in November.

Bidwell Riversides Food Pantry spokesperson, Alison Hanner, says 5,891 people got food at their Des Moines location. She says there’s a variety of things that put people in need. “The rising cost of things — there’s wide variety of people who come to our pantry. Maybe it’s someone whose just lost their job or they have to stay at home to take care of a relative,” Hanner says.

Hanner says unemployment is low in the state, but some people are finding their jobs don’t pay enough to meet all their costs. And the cold weather adds to their bills. “This time of year definitely there is a bit more of an increase. Whether that’s just with the holidays people want to make sure they have enough food or if it’s because the cost of living with utilities is much higher this time of year — this is more of our busiest month,” according to Hanner.

They have two ways of giving out food. “Our three-day supply of food that you can get every 30 days. And that’s from DMRC, Des Moines Religious Council,” Hanner says. “And then we have our emergency food. So that’s donated and we get some of that donated from the Food Bank of Iowa there. Our clients can get that every ten days. A lot of that does come from donations the community.”

They gave out 1,707 turkeys and hams for Thanksgiving. Hanner says they are happy to take donations of any kind
“We accept food donations, clothing donations. Right now we are really looking to get more toys and gift card for our holiday toy pantry,” Hanner says. “Toiletries are always something that’s needed. A lot of our clients consider toiletries a luxury item — because you can brush your teeth without toothpaste and you can take a shower without shampoo. So, we are really looking to get those donations.”

She says the toy donations are always needed. She says they need new toys for kids from newborn to age 12. “We are one of the only pantries that serve teenagers as well. We are asking for gift cards for them because then they can go out and pick what they’d like,” Hanner says.

You can donate on their website at: