SUMMIT Reflection: Sarah Nelson
In our community, people are hungry. When budgets are tight, food is low on the priority list because bills can’t go unpaid. DMARC, the Des Moines Area Religious Council, saw this need and reached out to congregations and faith organizations to come together. They run as a food pantry network of 13 different Des Moines sites and 13 stops made by a mobile food pantry truck that drives to places where people lack the ability to travel to pantry locations. I’ve primarily volunteered in the mobile twice a week over the summer, but I also worked a few shifts at Meals from the Market. This provides thousands of pounds of fresh produce donations from local vendors at the Farmer’s Market to all 13 sites. I worked with people from all walks of life; hunger is a universal problem that can affect anyone at any moment in their lifetime.
The busiest week I experienced volunteering was after the flood hit on June 30th. DMARC responded by revamping the mobile food pantry to fit the needs of people who didn’t have access to cook food or refrigerate perishables. Many families faced dislocation and uncertainty. It was gut-wrenching as a pregnant mother of three children showed me pictures of her destroyed home and car. She told me she was grateful that her family was safe as her neighbor helped rescue them in a canoe. I received a lot of hugs that day and was so grateful for all that I have. It was incredible to see different faiths from all backgrounds come together to sponsor a common mission. DMARC was an amazing internship this summer and I saw God in all the inspiring people I met who make a direct difference to fight hunger.