Olivet Neighborhood Mission (ONM) in Cedar Rapids put out a call for help on social media on Tuesday: supplies are running low at its food pantry.
“Two of our main refrigerators are nearly empty!” the mission said in a Facebook post. “But in addition, it is hard to get several crucial food items from HACAP [Hawkeye Area Community Action Program] as they have limited access to several items including: milk, pasta, orange juice, peanut butter & meat.”
ONM provides a wide variety of services, from a clothing closet with free and low-cost clothing and other personal items to after-school and summer programs for community kids and teens.
The mission started at Olivet Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids in 1976, as an effort by church members to provide clothing for those in need. Shortly afterwards, it added programs for kids, and by 1987, it had expanded and moved into its own space, across the street from the church. Eleven years later, a gift from an anonymous donor allowed the mission to build a new, much larger space for its work. In 1999, it moved into its current home on 10th Street NW.
The food pantry was added in 2005, after the mission received a donation of canned goods from students at Taft Middle School, who had held an exceptionally successful food drive during the holidays.
Like other food banks around Iowa and throughout the country, ONM has seen an increase in demand during the pandemic, and that increase in demand has only grown more sharply in recent weeks.
“We have seen a 57% increase in the number of households requesting food boxes from the last two weeks in December 2021 (which is historically already a busy time due to the holidays) to the last 2 weeks in January 2022,” ONM said on Tuesday.
Information about how to support the mission is available on its website. ONM accepts the following donated items for its food pantry:
• Bread and deli items
• Fruits and vegetables (fresh or canned)
• Grains and rice
• Milk products
• Nonperishable sources of protein, such as protein bars, peanut butter, and canned tuna
• Premade boxed meals
Donations for the food bank are accepted at the mission — 230 10th St NW — Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and Saturday, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Anyone with questions regarding the food pantry, how to help or receive help, or other matters related to ONM can call 319-364-7946 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.