The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 23, 2013

Volunteers work to get food to the needy

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

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