Food banks facing tough times

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OSAGE, IA – While families might be busy getting ready for their kids to head back to school or maybe even finishing up their last-minute vacations this time of year tends to be a slow time for food pantries.

But there are local food banks dealing with a more urgent situation than others.

Leo Chisholm has run the Mitchell County food bank for 28 years, so he knows first hand the challenges they can face during the summer months but this year is different.

“Our income is way down, food prices are way up, and donations are way down so it’s kind of little dilemma we’re in but we’re not the only food bank facing it this year, I think they’re all going to see it,” he says.

The bank receives help in the form of grants and foundations but Leo says that’s not enough to keep things going.

“Yeah we buy from the NE Iowa Food Bank, sure we get it delivered once a month but they can’t supply everything we need and a lot of the things they have we can purchase locally.”

Many food banks including Mitchell County rely on donations from the community to keep food on these shelves.

Not many know the challenge of feeding the hungry quite as well as Amanda Ragan.

“They thought, oh this is going to be a 2 year deal, that was in 1983 and it continues to go on and on and on so the problem doesn’t end,” she says.

She runs the community kitchen in Mason City and says they don’t see quite as many hard times as food banks.

“When you’re handing out food to families that’s a bigger struggle because it isn’t something where you can share and say you can have this we’ll all work together. Their going to their homes so the food banks have a different struggle.”

Both agree that they expect donations to pick up again in the fall and winter

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