The food pantry gave families baskets with food for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The Good Samaritan Adel Food Pantry, currently located at Adel United Methodist Church at 115 North 10th Street in Adel, is open each Monday and Wednesday from noon until 2 p.m. for families in need to stock up on some pantry essentials. 

This year they went one step further for Thanksgiving and allowed families to sign up for a basket with some of the essentials for a Thanksgiving dinner. The baskets included items like cream of mushroom soup, green beans, stuffing, gherke onions, cranberry sauce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pie and, of course, a turkey. 

Aside from the baskets, the food pantry doesn't see a lot of changes around the Thanksgiving holiday, says Celia McCollum, food pantry manager. 

"Hunger knows no season," McCollum said. "We have people who come every month. It's just that at Thanksgiving or Christmas time or Easter, they don't have the means to buy for those meals." 

The baskets with food for a Thanksgiving feast were available in addition to what they are able to get on a monthly basis. Some of the basket items were donated, but others were purchased by the staff at the food pantry to be given out for Thanksgiving. 

McCollum said that they have extra volunteers this time of year who help out with putting the baskets together and handling donations from Fresh Thyme in West Des Moines and from Wal-Mart in Grimes. 

Every Monday the food pantry gets a donation of perishable items that are close to expiration from the Grimes Wal-Mart, and every Tuesday, they get a similar donation from Fresh Thyme. Those items are also available in addition to the regular items available to the public. 

The food pantry is faith-based and has nine churches that are involved. Each church takes a turn sending volunteers on a specific Monday or Wednesday each month on a rotating scale and the church is responsible for finding the volunteers necessary to run the pantry. 

"A lot of times it's the same people," McCollum said. "We always like new volunteers but we just like people to know and understand more about the pantry and if they come and volunteer, they certainly go home with a bigger knowledge of what the food pantry is all about." 

She said that there are times when people not affiliated with one of the churches calls and wants to help out but they don't always have room for extra help. 

On a regular basis, nearly 100 people visit once a month on either a Monday or a Wednesday to pick up food for their families. The amount of food they can get is based on their family size and is supposed to be about one week's worth of food. 

McCollum said that the number of people who visit the food pantry to pick up food for themselves and their families has "steadily increased" this fall and she doesn't expect the numbers to go down in the future. 

"Once they come, they find that we're friendly, that we're non-judgmental, and then they'll come back," McCollum said. 

Maureen Rohret, a lead volunteer for the pantry, said that those seeking to receive food from the pantry don't need to show proof of need or income, but only need to live in the A-D-M or Van Meter School Districts. 

Food Pantry getting new space

At the last A-D-M School Board meeting, the board approved a motion to lease space within their administration building at 215 North 9th Street in Adel, space that was formerly the cafeteria for the old middle school, to the food pantry. 

McCollum said that the new area will help "tremendously" because the space will double from what they are using now.

Right now, they use three rooms in the church during their open hours, but have to put it all back into one room when they are done for the day. In the new location, they will be able to have storage areas that they can use even after they close. 

According to the lease, which was included as a part of the board packet at the last A-D-M School Board Meeting, the food pantry will pay a base rent of $1 per month for use of the space. 

Kids' program

The Adel Food Pantry also manages the kids program. They are currently serving 110 backpacks to the schools with kid-friendly foods like Pop-Tarts, individuals mac and cheeses and raviolis. 

"It's not 100 percent nutritious, but we want the kids to eat," McCollum said. "If you gave them spinach, they're probably not going to eat it, right? So we give them food that they'll eat." 

The schools, A-D-M and Van Meter, allow families to sign up and distribute the packages to the kids, so the food pantry doesn't actually know who is getting them.