The citizens of Van Meter are coming together to help put on a food pantry drive in support of the Good Samaritan Food Pantry located in Adel. This food pantry typically serves residents of both the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn and Van Meter communities but has recently expanded its area to include Redfield, Dexter and Linden in order to help families affected by COVID-19.

Van Meter citizens are also encouraged to stop by the storage trailer throughout the upcoming week in order pick up donated items as needed. They can also reach out to the new Van Meter hotline if in need of a more specific request.

“We know that there are people that need help and many don’t feel comfortable asking for help. Some people have never been in this kind of situation. We are trying to make it as easy as possible to assist these people until the jobs come back or it is safe for high risk people to go out in public,” Van Meter resident Adam Coyle said.

Rona Jacobs of Van Meter Salon TEC initially reached out to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry with anticipation that there could be a high need for its services due to COVID-19 impacts. She also coordinated with the Van Meter High School for the use of one of their large travel trailers in order to create a food drop-off and pick-up location.

“The set up really came from community members coming together to make this happen,” Jacobs said. “It’s more than a food drive. It is a group effort of our community to support its residents.”

The city of Van Meter currently has over 40 families that have volunteered to help out the community in any way that they can, along with local organizations such as the Van Meter Community Development Corporation sharing information on their Facebook page.

“I know that the community has done other food drives with the school and a local church in the past, but this one is unique due to the circumstances,” Coyle said.

The Van Meter Food Pantry Drive began Monday, April 20 and runs through Friday, April 24. Those interested in donating or picking up items can stop by the cargo trailer currently parked next to the high school baseball field between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The food drive is currently only accepting donations of packaged bulk food items such as macaroni and cheese, cereal, or canned goods along with personal care items such as toilet paper, deodorant, laundry detergent and toothbrushes. Those interested in making a monetary donation or in need of a special request can call the new Van Meter Hotline at (515) 210-8282.

Coyle added that “one thing I really think is pretty special is that Van Meter is small” and it typically doesn’t have a large need for these services.

“But within a two week time frame, a handful of people organically recruited volunteers, found sources of help that citizens might need, the Legion is providing food gift cards, we started a food pantry, the churches are offering help as they are able to and the City is putting links on their website of where people can go for additional help,” Coyle said. “All these things happened separately as someone saw a need and then we all joined forces to work together and help those in need.”