Lord’s Cupboard: uniting volunteers for three decades

Friday, January 24, 2020

“If you are in need of assistance, you are welcome” is the motto of The Lord’s Cupboard food pantry on 213 Main Street in Alta which provides food, toiletries and paper products to residents living in the 51002 area code.

The pantry is open for business every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, “But anyone can call and I will work out a time if they can’t be there on Friday,” said Sue Geyer, the pantry’s organizer. Occasionally the pantry is closed due to inclement weather, so she suggests calling her on those days at 712-284-1320 to ensure it is open. Six visits per calendar year per family are permitted, and proof of residence is required from a driver’s license or bill.

About 50 households per year are served, she said. Clients receive non-perishable foods and toiletries, a $20 voucher for perishable food at local grocery stores in addition to meat donated routinely by local companies. For the lucky ones who are at the right place at the right time, quilts are sometimes given away, donated by local residents.

A huge boost to the pantry comes each November and December when the entire community pitches in. “Every year, the City of Alta and Alta Public Utilities sponsor a food drive, and that restocks the pantry really well,” Geyer said.

Barb Irvan is the liaison from Alta’s Summit Evangelical Free Church and is impressed with how the pantry is operated. “It’s economically run and it’s very organized. I give it 5 stars,” she said, and is always pleased to see that when a client is finished shopping, their cart is full. Irvan appreciates the weekly bread and meat donations to the pantry from local companies.

The Lord’s Cupboard opened in 1979 by the Alta United Methodist Church and is funded and serviced through local churches, organizations, companies, city government, the school district, Iowa Food Bank and individuals. It is a charter member of the Iowa Food Network and a member of the Iowa Food Bank.

A few things Geyer wants people to know include when donating food, check expiration dates since they must throw away expired items that are received. She also emphasizes that cash donations to the pantry are used only for food and toiletries, not for building upkeep and utilities which are paid for by the United Methodist Church.

After 30 years with the pantry, Geyer is in awe that it always just keeps going. It not only helps its clients, but also brings the churches and other organizations together. There is a yearly schedule for church volunteers with churches rotating responsibilities throughout the year. She profusely thanks the community for their support. “People are so good to help the Cupboard,” she said.