April 15, 2020

The Grinnell Food Coalition, which formed in March to address pandemic-related food insecurity needs in the local community, has created a grocery voucher system with local grocers, as well as a resource guide listing local and state food assistance programs, mental health and wellness services, and financial stability resources. 

The coalition, with representatives from Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, MICA, Imagine Grinnell, Local Foods Connection, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell Newburg School District, Tiger Packs, local churches, and community residents, worked during March with Fareway, Hy-Vee and McNally’s to develop a voucher system.  

Families were first introduced to the new voucher system on Wed., April 15, when vouchers were included in the meals distribution at Grinnell Community High School and available at the Blessed Community Meal at Grinnell United Methodist Church. The $10 vouchers can be used like cash when making purchases at participating grocers. Families may request additional vouchers in $10 increments by contacting localresources@ahrensfamiyfoundation.org or calling 641-236-5518, ext. 109. 

The Food Coalition has also developed a resource guide to assist families and individuals who are asset limited, income constrained during the COVID-19 crisis. The guide, which offers information about food assistance, mental health services, and financial resources, will be available at churches, grocery stores and MICA.  The resource guide is also available online at ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/local-resources/.

“Members of the community are encouraged to refer anyone who would benefit from these resources,” said Jennifer Cogley, member of Grinnell Food Coalition. “There are no eligibility requirements, so the Food Coalition wants to help with groceries for anyone with a disruption to income or needs during this difficult time.”  

Individuals may contact the coalition directly or be referred to the coalition by email to localresources@ahrensfamilyfoundation.org, calling Cogley at 641-236-5518, ext. 109, or by mail at P.O. Box 719, Grinnell IA 50112.  The websiteahrensfamilyfoundation.org/local-resources/ includes a short form to complete by individuals requesting grocery vouchers.

To date, the Grinnell Food Coalition partners have committed more than $25,000 toward the voucher system and related needs.  Individuals who wish to contribute to these efforts may make tax deductible gifts through the already established Local Foods Connection fund at localfoodsconnection.com/donate or by mail to Local Foods Connection, P.O. Box 719, Grinnell, IA 50112, Attn: COVID-19 Response.