Experiencing lower demand than anticipated, Allamakee County Food Shelf wants public to know it is open and ready to serve local needs

With the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting nearly all aspects of life, coordinators of the Allamakee County Food Shelf want the public to know that the Food Shelf is still open at its regular Thursday date and time in order to take care of those who may need its services offered.

Knowing the current economic impact the pandemic is having, Food Shelf co-coordinators Julie Rotach and Ann Roed have been a bit surprised that the demand for food has not been higher than what they’ve seen since pandemic restrictions and closures have been put in place. That surprise extends itself even further to the absence of some individuals who have been consistent visitors to the Food Shelf prior to the pandemic but have not been seen as of late.

“We’re not sure if they don’t think we are open because of the current situation, or if they just don’t feel safe in venturing out,” Rotach said. “We want everyone to know that we are still here and available to assist them, if need be.”

The Food Shelf continues to be open during its regular distribution time each week, each Thursday from 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m., at its location at 1125 West Main Street in Waukon. Being able to pick up food still requires some sort of identification, such as a driver’s license, and first-time recipients will need to fill out a form with income verification, as required by the Northeast Iowa Food Bank that helps facilitate the efforts of the Allamakee County Food Shelf.

What is different for the Allamakee County Food Shelf during this current pandemic situation is the fact that food recipients are no longer allowed to enter the building to gather their own food items. Food Shelf volunteers will meet each individual or family at the door during those Thursday open hours and then gather the food packages with a variety of items that will then be brought back to that front door. Recipients are asked to bring their own containers to pack and carry the multiple food items in.

“That’s the one big change,” Rotach said. “For everyone’s health and safety, we will meet you at the door and gather your food for you. Thanks for understanding that change.”

Rotach said if anyone in the Waukon community does not feel safe in coming out to visit the Food Shelf during this pandemic situation, there is limited delivery available within the city limits. “We really aren’t equipped to deliver anything out of town, but we can certainly try and make a trip somewhere within Waukon in order to meet someone’s food needs,” she explained.

Rotach said local delivery arrangements can be made by calling her at 563-568-3754 or Roed at 563-568-3562.

Rotach said the generosity of donations received by the Food Shelf is overwhelming, and very welcome and necessary. Those donations have come mainly in the form of monetary, but have also very welcomely come in the form of food, such as a recent entire beef donated by a local producer.

“The monetary donations allow us to buy a much broader variety of food items than what we can get through the Northeast Iowa Food Bank,” Rotach explained. “And we always like to spend that money locally to help support the people who have supported our efforts.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Allamakee County Food Shelf 501(c)3 non-profit organization may do so via mail at P.O. Box 251, Waukon, IA 52172 or by calling Rotach or Roed at their numbers listed earlier in this article. Any additional questions can also be answered by calling those numbers as well.

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