DUBUQUE – The Mt. Pleasant Home in Dubuque has provided warm showers, clean beds, and delicious food to its residents for over 140 years.
The most enticing of these amenities, for many, is of course, the food.
“Tonight we had chicken flautas and we made up a sauce with the components that I gathered up from St. Stephen’s,” said administrator Keith Kettler.
Tonight’s total meal cost for roughly 40 people at the home? About $6, thanks to St. Stephen’s Food Bank.
Almost all of the food at the Mt. Pleasant Home is provided by St. Stephen’s.
St. Stephen’s Food Bank is the only food bank in the area, covering 100% of Dubuque and Jackson County. The food bank supplies meal sites, pantries, nursing homes, youth programs, and other non-profit organizations.
However, recently, St. Stephen’s has been struggling to keep up with the demands of the community.
“This is a growing business as you may know. More people need food than ever before,” says Ken Zeckser, a volunteer at the food bank.
Zeckser has been volunteering at St. Stephen’s for two decades. He says that lately, the supply there hasn’t been nearly as much as in past years.
“This is the first time in 20 years that I have seen empty shelves.”
The problem isn’t actually the lack of donations—it’s the increase in demand.
“The donations have been coming in like normal, but the distribution is a little bit higher,” said executive director Kathy Hutton.
In January and February alone, St. Stephen’s gave out an extra 7,000 meals than they had planned for.
Honestly, this is good news for Hutton and her staff. The food bank is being used, and being used often. Last year, the food bank distributed just under 1.5 million pounds of food.
That’s enough to supply almost the entire population of Dubuque with food for 2 whole days.
But these donations need to keep coming to supply places like the Mt. Pleasant Home with food.
“The warehouse levels today are at the lowest that I’ve seen them in 26 years,” said Kettler.
Kettler is grateful for what the food bank provides, and urges anyone to donate their time and resources to St. Stephen’s.
“If you’re going to donate…over at St. Stephen’s food bank, you’re helping hundreds of people.”
Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer at St. Stephen’s is asked to log on to ststephensfoodbank.org, get in touch with Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (563) 557-7474, or stop by at 3145 Cedar Crest Ridge Dubuque, IA 52003.
Ben Friedman is an anchor and associate producer for LCTV News. He is a sophomore at Loras College from Ankeny, Iowa. Ben enjoys LCTV because it gives him an opportunity to combine creativity and storytelling in a way that helps him provide value to his community.