Fayette County Food Shelf Open for Business Days After the Fire

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

FAYETTE, Iowa - Volunteers at the Fayette County Food Shelf are getting back to work after a fire destroyed the pantry on New Year's Eve.

The building's owners now know it was an electrical fire.

Today was the first day back at work after flames filled the food shelf.

"I am blown away that they are back up and running after a week after having a fire," said Northeast Iowa Food Bank Director of Programs, Karen Erickson.

With each box of food, volunteers are taking a step towards recovery.

"We were all in shock, I think ... we are just going to keep going forward, not backwards," said Food Shelf Volunteer Roxanne Conrade.

Conrade has worked at the food shelf for a long time.

"I know there's a lot of them out there that probably need help," Conrade said.

She said they're spreading the word that people who need help can come to the temporary location. They're setting up shop here at the Northeast Iowa Professional Building on East Clark Street.

"The professional building board, that's where we are at, offered us three months' rent free," said Fayette County Food Shelf Manager Karen Martin.

Food donations came in by the car load.

"I've been getting a lot of donations today, which is very good," Conrade said.

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank made a large delivery and the second will come next week. In all, it will add up to about $1,500 worth of food. The food bank said money set aside in a disaster fund helped them pay for the donation.

"This was a special delivery this morning to make sure they could get up and running," Erickson said.

For all of this to come together so quickly, these volunteers would say this day is just as sweet as the box of sugar donated as part of their recovery efforts.

"You just want to hug everybody," Martin said.

As the unpacking continues, volunteers are ready to serve people in Fayette County.

The temporary location of the Fayette County Food Shelf is the Northeast Iowa Professional Building at 201 East Clark Street in Fayette. The phone number is 563-425-3399. It will be open every Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and every Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

You can also still help the Fayette Food Shelf. Monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 711 Fayette Iowa, 52142.

The food shelf eventually plans to move into a building next to their old site in about three months.
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