No Hungry Neighbors food drive a big success

Friday, December 18, 2020
For the 14th year, the Alta-Aurelia High School Student Council and National Honor Society, partnered with the City of Alta and Alta Municipal Utilities, collected donations for the “No Hungry Neighbors” food drive for The Lord’s Cupboard in Alta. They collected 2,330 pounds of food.

=Two pickup trucks loaded with food donations were at The Lord’s Cupboard food pantry in Alta on Dec. 11th as a result of the 14th annual No Hungry Neighbors food drive. The event is organized by the City of Alta, Alta Municipal Utilities and the Alta-Aurelia School District’s Student Council and National Honor Society. United Bank of Iowa on Alta’s Main Street also played a part by providing collection barrels.  Alta City Clerk Megan Peterson helped to unload bags of donations from the pickup trucks at the pantry on the 11th.

“The No Hungry Neighbors food drive is important because, during the cold months, utility bills are higher, people have extra expenses for Christmas, and we know that people have to make sacrifices in order to meet all the different demands,” Peterson said.

“The No Hungry Neighbors food drive helps out our neighbors who are making sacrifices during the cold months. The food cupboard shelves will be stocked for those that need it. And we don’t want anyone to go hungry over the Holidays.”

The high school students collected 2,330 pounds of food, she said. The “friendly competition” that usually occurs among district schools was limited this year due to the pandemic. However, Student Council Advisor Lindsay Brown found a way to collect donations safely, keeping contact to a minimum.

The pantry benefits the community by being a place where people who need help are able to get it, Peterson said. “It is a very simple process, but does require proof of being a resident of Alta.”

This year is somewhat different. “I would say this year many people have had hardships due to COVID-19,” she said. “Many people have been out of work or have had furloughs or some businesses even closed so they are missing an income. If the community can help put food on the table for those that are facing challenges, it will make our entire community stronger.”

“Please remember The Lord’s Cupboard accepts donations all year round,” Peterson said. “They are open all year round, so they need to keep the shelves stocked. Lastly, they cannot distribute expired food, so please check the expiration dates before giving your donation.”

The Lord’s Cupboard, located at 213 Main St. in Alta, is a community-supported food pantry serving residents living within the 51002 area code of Alta, both city and rural. The pantry provides food assistance and toiletries.

Long-time Coordinator Sue Geyer is especially appreciative of donations this year considering the many residents who are struggling through the pandemic. “We’re so grateful for this city-wide drive,” she said. “No Hungry Neighbors really filled our cupboards.”

She and volunteers have been busy stocking shelves, a task which can be time-intensive since they need to read every food label for expiration dates. 

“We depend on donations, especially because of this pandemic year,” Geyer said. They have received fewer physical donations this year. “But the financial donations kept coming in. It’s running very smoothly.”

One change made this year at The Lord’s Cupboard is that when receiving food and toiletry donations, they let the items sit for a few days before stocking the shelves. “We’re trying to be safe,” she said.

One routine that remains the same is that when supplies become low, Geyer e-mails churches in town. “They always come through.” Occasionally Tyson donates meat, but most meat is purchased from the Iowa Food Bank at a minimal cost.

The Lord’s Cupboard opened in 1979 by the Alta United Methodist Church and is run by volunteers from Alta churches, local organizations and individuals. 

During the pandemic, the hours of operation are limited. People can receive curbside delivery on any Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon to pick up food and toiletries. Geyer can be reached at 712-200-2304 to answer any questions or to arrange for pickup on another day or time.