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27% of Ames Students and 9% of Families Face Food Insecurity: Essential Summer Support Programs You Need to Know!

9% of Ames Families and 27% of Students Face Food Insecurity

Ames Community Tackles 9% Food Insecurity Rate

According to Ames Tribune, in Ames various community groups including the local food pantry, library and schools are joining forces to feed families during the summer. The United Way of Story County a key player in this effort collaborates with community partners to identify hunger needs and provide support. According to the United Way, Story County had a food insecurity rate of 9% in 2022. Additionally 27% of students in the county were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch during the 2023-24 school year. Anneke Mundel the Community Impact Director for United Way of Story County noted that they served around 3,500 families each month before the pandemic. However after the government stimulus checks ended the number of families needing assistance almost doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The Ames Community School District is helping by offering the Summer Food Service Program. This program provides meals at three locations on a first-come first-served basis through July 18. At Bethesda Lutheran Church lunch is served from 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday specifically for the Boys and Girls Club. Mitchell Elementary School offers breakfast and lunch from Monday to Thursday and Sawyer Elementary School also provides these meals during the same days. The Ames Public Library is also playing a part by providing free lunches to kids and teens on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in their auditorium. These lunches are free for those 18 and younger while adults can purchase meals for $3.50. No library card is needed to receive a meal. The Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Food Pantry located at 230 SE 16th Street in Ames is dedicated to reducing local food insecurity. This pantry serves all Story County residents and recently received a $9,000 grant from the Bayer Fund. This grant will help purchase and deliver food and cover operational expenses at the Story County Family Development Center. Amy Simpson Senior and Program Officer at Bayer Fund highlighted MICA’s commitment to ensuring that food-insecure families especially those without transportation or who are homebound receive monthly food box deliveries.

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27% of Ames Students and 9% of Families Face Food Insecurity: Essential Summer Support Programs You Need to Know! (PHOTO:

MICA Pantry’s Vital Role in Supporting Families Amid Inflation

The MICA Food Pantry provides one emergency food box each month containing enough food for three to five days. They also offer fresh items daily from community partners. Abra Dougherty MICA’s Resource Development and Communications Coordinator emphasized that the support from Bayer allows MICA to assist many Story County residents. She stated that adequately staffing the pantry to provide food, nutrition and connections to other resources is vital in meeting the needs of the families they serve. As inflation impacts more families the need for these services continues to grow highlighting the importance of community support in fighting food insecurity.

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