Demand for food is rising and donations from food companies and grocery stores have dropped for the non-profit that serves 23 counties in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois.
Liz Dierolf, spokeswoman for the Davenport-based River Bend Food Bank, says changes in consumer habits and continuing supply chain problems are creating a cascade of challenges.
“We’re seeing a reduction in donations,” Dierolf says. “So if you don’t see it on the shelves, that means the store doesn’t have any extra to donate to us. That’s causing us to have about 20% more food needing to be purchased by us in order to keep our shelves stocked for our pantries.”
Delivering food to all its partner agencies, pantries, and meal sites is also costing River Bend more, due to the higher gasoline prices. “We can take every dollar and provide five meals for people facing hunger,” Dierolf says. “So all gifts help. You can visit our website to make a one-time or a monthly gift of any size to help us keep our shelves stocked and provide food to the people who need it.”
Visits to the food bank’s North Park and South Park mall pantries are up 60%, compared to last fall and winter. The River Bend Food Bank supplies more than 300 food pantries, meal sites, and soup kitchens. Donations can be made online at RiverBendFoodBank.org.
(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)