Headed into the winter, the shelves at the Upper Des Moines Opportunity food pantry are fairly well stocked, but the charitables program director Joan Spooner is anticipating an increased need during the season ahead.
"There were a large number of people recruited and brought in from the Chicago area to work, but quite a few of them are without jobs now," she said.
The food supply for the needy has been stable, Spooner said, thanks to extraordinary generosity from the community.
"The food pantry goes along pretty well, it's almost as if you ask for something, and it is done. We are so well supported here in Storm Lake that you can only be grateful for it," the UDMO director said.
"We always get a lot in at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when people are in the giving mood. The boy scouts and postal carriers do food drives that bring in 4,000 pounds of food around May. And we just had Summit Church in Alta come in with a horse traller full of food that they had collected. Of course, at other times, things can be a lot leaner. In January and Februrary, we traditionally have very little food coming in."
This season, UDMO is most in need of meat and hygience items such as laundry soap.
"Canned meat is very important, and we do have some freezers, so we can take things like hamburger. With this being a pork producing area, we do get some pork in, but we rarely have beef," Spooner said.
Despite the addition of a couple of second-hand stores in Storm Lake, the donated clothing supply at UDMO seems to also be steady, and meets most of the needs.
Aside from displaced workers, the rate of poverty - or at least the rate of needy families seeking help from Upper Des Moines - seems to have stabilized, she feels.
"I certainly can't complain about where we stand. There are so many people, the churches, the organizations in the Storm Lake area who have been so good to us. Because of that, we've always been able to help people when they need it the most."
* For information on UDMO programs, or to make donations, call 732-1757 for more information.