The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 23, 2013

Volunteers work to get food to the needy

The Clinton Herald

---- — United Way of Clinton County, Iowa hosted its first Hunger Luncheon at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton on Nov. 8.

The 72 participants were served a meal that someone who is food-insecure might have: soup, bread and a beverage.

Program hosts Pastor Jen Henry and Chris Streets covered information on hunger issues in Clinton County.

• 39 percent of the people the food pantries serves are children younger than 18;

• 10 percent are children younger than 5;

• 7 percent are homeless;

• 40 percent of households include at least one employed adult and 50 percent are very low food insecure;

• 45 percent of clients served by the food pantries have to choose paying for heat or utilities;

• 34 percent choose between paying for food or medicine; and

• 38 percent choose between food and rent/mortgage payments.

United Way funded agencies, Associate Benevolent Society, DeWitt Referral Center and Salvation Army work to fill requests for food every day.

In 2012, the Associate Benevolent Society:

• filled 868 food pantries;

• served 4,368 individuals with food; and

• gave out 350 Easter food packages and 600 Thanksgiving food packages.

Throughout 2012, the DeWitt Referral Center:

• served an average of 330 people each month with food;

• gave 100 bread/cereal bags per month; and

• assisted school children on the free and reduced lunch program with an extra milk at our local schools, giving out 2236 cartons of milk.

During 2012, The Salvation Army:

• filled 906 food pantries;

• provided 5,023 individuals with food; and

• gave out 654 Christmas food packages.

Thank you to those who helped make the event a success. The proceeds, totaling $1,400, are going to the above food pantries for holiday food needs.

Special thanks to Ashford student volunteers, Associate Benevolent Society, Clinton National Bank, DeWitt Referral Center, Fareway, Information, Referral & Assistant Services, Mercy Medical Center, Rainbow Pottery, Rastrelli’s, Sue and Lenny Weih, Sisters of St. Francis, Sweetheart Bakery and Zion Lutheran Church.

We could not have such a successful event without the outstanding support of the community. It turned out to be an amazing fundraiser. In some respects this fundraiser represents what the United Way is all about — contributions by members of the community who care enough to get involved and make a positive difference.

Again, thanks to everyone who helped and to the community for their support. Together we can accomplish more than any single group or individual can on its own — one dollar at a time, one meal at a time, one child at a time, one family at a time.

Regan Michaelsen, executive director, Information, Referral & Assistance Services of Iowa

Cheryl McCulloh, executive director, United Way of Clinton County, Iowa