The Des Moines Area Religious Council plans to launch a new mobile food pantry on Monday at Orchard Place-Pace Center. The mobile pantry will be at 620 Eighth St. in downtown Des Moines every first and third Monday of the month from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The addition of the mobile pantry at Orchard Place-Pace Center will help the 3,000 children and families that are served by the agency’s home and community based programs, said Sonnie Vierling, vice president at Orchard Place-Pace Center. “Our providers witness the scarcity of food in homes and the parental fears of if or how they’ll feed their family each night,” Vierling said in a news release. DMARC’s mobile pantry currently serves 22 locations across Central Iowa, and Matt Ungeer, DMARC CEO, said the partnership with Orchard Place “helps us meet folks where they already are. With gas prices being as high as they are right now, if we can help a family make one less trip, that helps them quite a bit too.” DMARC’s food pantry network saw a 40% increase in April, a 60% increase in May and a 64% increase in June compared with the same months in 2021. DMARC officials say the increase is the result of a loss of expanded pandemic SNAP benefits in April with increases in food and fuel prices. So far in 2022, more than 6,000 people have used a DMARC food pantry for the first time ever, agency officials said in the release.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a yearlong Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa. Read additional stories on Iowastopshunger.com.