School food pantries assist The Lord’s Cupboard

Food donation shows unity in uncertain time

Knowing that some of their students, and their families, were not getting enough to eat, leaders of a handful of Fort Dodge schools took the innovative step of establishing food pantries.

Butler Elementary School, 945 S. 18th St., and Duncombe Elementary School, 1620 Sixth Ave. N., are two of those schools. The food in both of those schools’ pantries is donated. The Fort Dodge Community School District doesn’t spend any taxpayer money to stock the shelves.

Just before any long break, the school officials take items off the shelves of those pantries and make up care packages for students to take home. But there was no advance notice when Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered Iowa schools to close earlier this month to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Suddenly, the students were gone, but the food was still on the shelves.

The need for the food, however, didn’t go away. With many businesses shuttered and economic activity slowing, the need is likely increasing. In fact, Joni Ham-Olson, director of The Lord’s Cupboard, reported that her pantry is now seeing a lot more people coming in for food.

”We’re starting to feel a little bit of a pinch,” she recently told The Messenger.

The Lord’s Cupboard recently got an assist in the form of two carloads of food from the pantries at Butler and Duncombe elementary schools.

Ryan Flaherty, principal of Duncombe Elementary School, said it would be a tragedy for the food to sit unused on the school shelves. He and Butler Elementary School Principal Carmen Banwart delivered the food to The Lord’s Cupboard Tuesday.

We salute the principals and other school leaders who decided to share the contents of the pantries with The Lord’s Cupboard. They could have kept the food on the shelves until school reopens. However, they decided to help the entire community by taking it to The Lord’s Cupboard. Hungry families will be grateful.


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