Homeless shelter in Iowa faces critical food shortage, now has to purchase its own food

This is the first year they’ve had to purchase their own meat.
A homeless shelter in Council Bluffs is experiencing a critical food shortage.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 7:02 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Food is disappearing off the pantry shelves at MICAH House and donations aren’t coming in fast enough to fill them back up.

“In the last six months, this has steadily increased as we have less options to work with,” Andersen said.

Jenny Andersen works with marketing and community development at MICAH House. She says in the past they’ve never really had to spend money on food, but they’re receiving fewer food donations than any other year in their history. They think the economy is to blame.

“So, we’re experiencing a lot of price inflation these days. I think a lot of people are aware of that happening when it comes to food and food prices that is greatly affecting the ability to purchase food here at MICAH House,” Andersen said.

Andersen said this is the first year they’ve had to purchase their own meat.

“Hamburger for a 10-pound roll is $35 at this time we need two of those rolls to feed 100 clients for one meal,” Andersen said.

MICAH House now spends $700 to $1,000 every other week just to purchase meat and other canned goods. Andersen says this is in comparison to last year when they would spend an average of $300 a month for food.

With the holidays coming up they’re uncertain of what’s to come.

“Our chefs have to get creative with what they work with and it’s very hard to provide a nice rounded meal with all the food groups,” Andersen said.

Marie Chocolate is a cook at MICAH House she says lately they’ve had to constantly adjust their meals last minute.

“There are not too many options even if we have to go to the store,” Chocolate said.

Chocolate says it can be quite stressful, especially when serving over 100 clients.

“It’s been really difficult trying to come up with a meal sometimes last minute,” Chocolate said. “The steps we take from grand donations coming up that we’re able to come up with sides and different food choices.”

Andersen now asks the community for help.

“We want to spread awareness and we’re just asking for a call to action,” Andersen said.