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New food pantry opens in Council Bluffs

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - It’s official: Council Bluffs’ newest food pantry is open and ready to serve.

“This is a great day for Council Bluffs and the surrounding community,” Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland, said at the opening ceremony. “What we are saying here today is that we want to better serve the people of Council Bluffs and the surrounding areas and that is a day worth celebrating.”

It doesn’t look like your typical food pantry; instead, it mirrors a grocery store.

“They can go up and down the aisles just like you’re at a grocery store. They check out in the back, and then they take the food out to their car using the shopping basket — just like at the grocery store,” said Mike Hornacek, president and CEO of Together Inc.

Together Inc’s goal is to create a space that allows people access to the food they need in a dignified and compassionate way.

“They can come to us whenever they need access to food. We don’t say no to people. We are here for the Council Bluffs community,” Hornacek said

Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh said the need for a large, permanent food pantry grew during the pandemic.

“It’s not a small problem, it’s a larger community problem. Council Bluffs all of its public schools in the Council Bluffs Community School District are free and reduced lunch and so there are a lot of people right on the borderline that need help,” Walsh said.

It comes at a time when the need at Together Inc’s Omaha locations is soaring. In 2019, they served 42,000 individuals. In 2020, that number nearly quadrupled to 162,000.

Together Inc and their partners, the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, the Iowa West Foundation, and the Pottawattamie County Foundation, see this food pantry as a vital step in stopping food insecurity in the Heartland.

If you want to go

The pantry is open from 1-5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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