The food pantry at Bidwell Riverside Center was featured last week in a Des Moines Register story on hunger in Iowa. Mike Kilen’s article featured pictures from Bidwell and reported some alarming trends.
Food pantries in Des Moines experienced a 20% increase in visitors in 2014, including about 41,000 who came for the first time. However, the Des Moines Area Religious Council, which supplies Bidwell’s pantry, has had to reduce the amount of food per household from a four-day supply to a three-day supply each month.
Statistics from the Food Bank of Iowa indicate that nearly two-thirds of the people they serve work at least 31 hours per week. One father of a Burmese refugee family, for example, cuts meat at a factory. His income is “not enough” for their family of six, said his daughter to the Register, but “it helps if we come here” to Bidwell.
Located on the south side of Des Moines, Bidwell “envisions a future where no one lives in poverty and every person has the opportunity for a positive future.” Apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa contribute to the ministries of Bidwell Riverside Center through the Community and Institutional Ministries fund of the Iowa Board of Global Ministries.