‘A lot of families are struggling’ Bettendorf nonprofit holds giant food giveaway

Local News

The Agape Center in Bettendorf held a giant food giveaway Friday afternoon.

Volunteers gave out thousands of pounds of food.

Organizers say they had an abundance of donations.

That’s because of the holiday falling on Friday, and the winter weather, which is their normal day for giving away food.

Lines stretched well over a mile.

“We’ve been here over an hour ourselves waiting,” says resident Bonnie Unger.

Many braved the cold to come out to the Agape Center’s massive food giveaway.

About 10 volunteers with the center gathered near the ball diamond to hand out more than 7,000 pounds of food to those in need.

Residents like Unger say they are appreciative of all the center is doing.

“This is very heartwarming. A lot of families are struggling. To start off the year with a big giveaway like this is going to mean a lot, and it’s going to help a lot of people,” says Unger.

The man leading it all, Don Wells, President of the Greater Bettendorf Community Foundation.

“A lot of our regulars that come here on a regular basis are kind of taken aback a little bit,” says Wells. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. We’re glad that we’re able to help everyone, or at least as many as we can. On the other hand, it’s not a really good thing that this many people need that much help.”

Wells says there was an abundance of donations.

“We have been receiving donations for the last two weeks. Most people don’t realize, but we missed our pantry last week because of weather. So, we doubled up our order from Riverbend Food Bank,” says Wells. “We’ve gotten our donations from both the Fresh Thyme store, and the Bettendorf Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh. That’s all accumulated into the big refrigerator, and all eight freezers upstairs. We’re kind of bursting at the seams. So, we’re here to help as many people as we can.

He says its a way to reduce the center’s stock while also helping out families, especially after a rough year.

“I think things are going to get better eventually. I think we’ve got a new norm that we’re all getting used to. It’s going to take us a little while to settle into what the new norm is going to be. As long as people need our help, we’re going to be able to help them,” says Wells.

The Agape Center food pantry is open every Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information about donating or volunteering at the center, visit their website.

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