Matt Tapscott, Director of the Decorah Area Food Pantry, was the guest of Lion Jeff Leeper at a recent Decorah Lions meeting.
Tapscott, who has been the director since August of 2022, said that the Food Pantry served 1,865 family members in January of this year, more than twice as many as were served a year ago. An average of 25,000 to 27,000 pounds of groceries are distributed every month to households in Allamakee, Winneshiek, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette and Howard Counties. 160 reservations and walk-in clients receive 40 to 50 pounds of food each week.
The Food Pantry purchased freezers and coolers with funds from COVID-19 grants, enabling the safe storage of “Rescue Food” – food which can now be used which previously would have to have been thrown away. Food products are donated by local retail outlets (grocery stores and convenience stores), local producers and canned and boxed groceries and cash come from individuals and local businesses. Lions Club members learned that although the price of food from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank has doubled in the past year and food supply is more limited, cash donations can still provide an affordable source of food for the Food Pantry.135 volunteers help to receive, stock and distribute the food to clients. Tapscott said that the community support for the Food Pantry has been incredible. The guest speaker said that the need for this service is real, people in the community are in need, food insecurity exists in the Decorah area, there are families having to choose where available money will be spent, on rent, on gas, or food.
He related this story of a young child who came into the Pantry; she said when asked how she was doing, “I had a good weekend, everyone in my family had enough to eat”.
The Decorah Area Food Pantry in open by appointment Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 12:30-4:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 to 7 p.m. Located at 110 Railroad Street, Decorah. 563-202-0872, Website: decorahpantry.org. Limited walk-ins are also accepted.
“Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world” – Norman Borlaug.