Dubuque food bank sees surge in need as pandemic lingers and holiday season comes in
DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - ”This is a monster of its own,” Kathy Hutton, director of St. Stephen’s food bank, said. “I have been here for ten years and I have never seen anything like this.”
St. Stephen’s serves Dubuque and Jackson counties in Iowa and Jo Daviess County in Illinois.
It is reporting that more than 19,000 people in the area face food insecurity and hunger. That is 37 percent higher than last year.
”Our actual programs, which is our mobiles that we send out, those are up 65 percent,” Hutton mentioned.
She said they are also seeing a lot of new faces; people who did not need their services before.
”The problem is a lot of people are what we are calling under-employed,” she explained. “Because they are working but they are just not making enough to make ends meet.”
Hutton said people are looking for almost everything, but especially produce, fresh meat, and other expensive food.
”They are looking for those fresh foods that they cannot normally afford,” she said. “They will go to the grocery store and buy the ramen noodles and eat that, which is not the most nutritional.”
Hutton said St. Stephen’s has also been affected in the way it can help out because of the pandemic, especially when it comes to volunteers.
”We have lost a few because of health reasons because they cannot be out here with this and I get it,” she mentioned. “But they will come back when the time comes and we are all free to go back to life the way we used to know it.”
In the meantime, she said people can help by organizing food drives or donating money and food.
”A lot of people will call and they will just end up sending a check,” she said.
Hutton added people looking to donate or help out should call 563-557-7474.
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