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Wellmark Foundation grant funds hunger initiative in Polk County

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, to improve access to nutritious, affordable food

February 15, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) will use a $25,000, 13-month grant from the Wellmark Foundation to continue their hunger reduction efforts in Des Moines.

Grant helps “map an end to hunger”
Mapping an End to Hunger in Greater Des Moines is developing a community based model to reduce hunger among low-income residents by increasing access to nutritional and affordable food. The program’s first phase, supported in part by a previous Wellmark Foundation grant, created an interactive food security map of the community.

In its second phase, the program will expand beyond the historic concept of proving hunger relief, to facilitate a system-wide community based model. Their work will ultimately end hunger and improve health for Polk County families in need.

Strategies will be focused in three major areas:

  • Nutrition education/outreach
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach and enrollment
  • Formation of a local food policy council, the Greater Des Moines Food Research and Action Council

Grant one of only 17 competitively selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their communities. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant award to DMARC represents one of 17 competitively awarded to establish or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“DMARC has a strong track record of reducing hunger in our local food system, and we’re proud to support this innovative program,” says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “Hunger and health are closely linked. Improving access to nutritious, affordable food will benefit the entire community.”

About Des Moines Area Religious Council
The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is an interfaith organization that exists to provide a common means of responding to basic human needs. The DMARC Emergency Food Pantries strive to meet the short-term needs of the food insecure in our area. More than 1.5 million meals were provided in 2010 from the food distributed through the DMARC Emergency Food Pantry.

For more information on the Des Moines Area Religious Council and its programs, contact Kristine Frakes, (515) 277-6969 / For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit




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