February 1, 2021 

After 15 years of mobilizing community members to feed the hungry the Grinnell Take Away Hunger (GTAH) organization will no longer sponsor packing events. This decision was made by the GTAH board members in large part because of the challenges and uncertainty caused by COVID restrictions. 

“The organization will be put on hold because of both the pandemic and new commitments of its long-standing board members” explained GTAH board member Sunny Dugas. “It’s been a wonderful experience to be part of a community that is so generous, and service minded. Participating in packaging events has been joyful and rewarding”. 

The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, who GTAH was a partner program of and provided back office support to, will close out the GTAH financials and continue to store the GTAH records. 

Grinnell Take Away Hunger board member Jeff Jonkman said, “The Grinnell Take Away Hunger board voted to distribute its accumulated funds to local and state food relief organizations who share its mission.” The groups receiving funds will be: Tiger Packs of Grinnell, Grinnell Food Coalition, Take Away Hunger at Grinnell United Methodist Church, and the Take Away Hunger state organization, Liberty Ministries. “We’re certain these groups will continue our mission of feeding families around the world…and around the corner.”

Grinnell Take Away Hunger was organized in Grinnell in 2006 through the efforts of Church Women United under leadership of Sue Drake. The group was originally called Kids Against Hunger and changed its name in 2016 to Grinnell Take Away Hunger to encourage participation from all segments of the community. Between 2006 and 2020 volunteers came from many different and varied groups in Poweshiek County to participate in teams of 12, four times a year, to assemble and package nutritious food packets. The meals were distributed to fight hunger overseas, as well as across America after natural disasters, and even locally through food pack programs and food banks. The Grinnell group packaged approximately 940,288 meals for the hungry during these years. 

Lynn Cavanagh, GTAH board member, also found it gratifying to take part in these community packing events that happened on a Sunday afternoon. She says “I enjoyed seeing groups from different churches, various clubs and organizations, extended family and friends, businesses, high school and college students show up to work 45 minutes in teams of twelve, packing food and assembling it into boxes to be shipped.” Cavanagh states “In most cases they had each contributed financially as well. Little kids on step stools along with seniors on folding chairs made up teams that got the job done. The college students were always so enthusiastic and such hard workers. I felt the events nourished the spirit of its volunteers as well as fed the hungry. I will miss that.” 

Questions related to the Grinnell Take Away Hunger program fund can be directed to contact@ahrensfamilyfoundation.org or by calling the Ahrens Foundation at 641-236-5518.