Drake Students Helping Area Food Pantries Reflect Diversity on the Shelves


DES MOINES, Iowa -- Take a look inside and it is easy to see that the need for food in Des Moines is growing.  "In Des Moines there are approximately 100,000 people who are food insecure and 20,000 are hungry which is severely food insecure," said Jenna Cornick, a student at Drake University.

Food pantries in Des Moines like IMPACT on University Avenue say it is also impacting immigrants and refugees.  "We see families from all over the world.  We see Burmese families, middle eastern families and a number of African countries," said IMPACT Executive Director Anne Bacon.

Students like Jenna at Drake want to help pantries across the metro reflect that diversity on the shelves.  "There is a large refugee population in Des Moines and a lot of immigrant workers and sometimes the food provided might not be familiar to those people," said Jenna.

The handful of sororities and fraternities that organized the culturally diverse food drive on campus say it is important to leave a mark on more than just Drake University.  Jenna said, "Ultimately, Drake students really are passionate about making a difference in the community.  Obviously school is a priority but the community is too."

Anne Bacon believes it will be welcomed with joy.  "We are very excited that there are others in the community looking to serve the needs of all families and not just those of us that like mac and cheese."

Bacon says the families have always been thrilled with american food options but she notices a difference when families spot something typically found in their native country. "They don`t walk in and say give me this or I wish you had that.  When they see something in particular this is one of their favorites it just warms all of our hearts to see people have a better day because we can provide what they prefer."

Those are feelings Cornick and other Drake students hope can help make transitioning to America a little easier.  "Being abroad when the food is unfamiliar, it can be really frustrating and providing food to an ethnically diverse population in Des Moines is important."

You can donate money or food until April 6th from 10 am to 4 pm inside the Olmsted Center.  You can also contact the Des Moines Area Religious Council if you would like to learn which ethnic foods they need the most.