COVID-19 Updates

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Got extra or too much food? Donate it through our Food Rescue App, ChowBank! 

With large and small events being cancelled due to COVID-19, we know companies, organizations, caterers, or restaurants may have food not being used or leftover. Do you find yourself in this position?

Download our free ChowBank app to get connected to nonprofit organizations who can use that perfectly good food for their clients.

“One of our main focuses as a non-profit is food rescue operations like this,” said Aubrey Alvarez, Executive Director of EGDM. “We know that many local restaurants are in a tough spot right now and those who already struggle to access food are hurting even more. We want to connect these two groups so restaurants don’t have to throw away perfectly good food and those in need can have better access to it.”

The ChowBank app was developed to connect companies or organizations with extra food to non-profit organizations who can use that extra food to feed their clients.

How It Works

1️⃣ Download the mobile app or create an account online.

2️⃣ Open the app and create an alert with your location, the time the donation is available, the description and quantity, if you can deliver, and how far you can drive.

3️⃣  The alert will be sent out to non-profit organizations across the metro that are accepting food donations at the time.

4️⃣ Once an organization has accepted the donation, you will receive an alert with where to deliver and the contact information to talk directly with them via the app.

5️⃣ Transport the food to the organization.

“Eat Greater Des Moines’s priority is to keep both the donors and recipient organizations safe,” said Alvarez. “We strongly recommend that donors dropping off donations to organizations take proper steps to reduce the risk of transmission.” 

We encourage donors to use gloves while transporting packaged foods to recipient organizations and to do no-contact drop offs by calling the recipient organization beforehand to see where to drop the food and alerting them when they are there. 

“In uncertain times like these, it is more important than ever that we all work together to help our neighbors who may need extra food,” said Alvarez.


The latest update on how we are shifting our food rescue transportation program to better serve organizations that are still serving the community. 

Delivery Locations

Currently we are still working with Wesley Life & Iowa Brew Tours to pick-up from Kum & Go Stores around the metro on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays. We are continuing to deliver to Conlin Properties and Hubble affordable housing communities around the greater Des Moines community. We are working with our partners the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s (DMARC) pantry network, Oakridge Neighborhood, Urban Dreams, Veterans Affairs, Youth Shelter & Services, and Central Iowa Shelter & Services to support our community members in need during this uncertainty.


Housing Sites

The Cottages of Johnston Commons 

Oakview Terrace Apartments 

City of Des Moines—Royal View Manor

Hamlet Apartments 

Deer Ridge Apartments 

Chapel Ridge Apartments 

Windfield Apartments 

Nonprofit Partners

Des Moines Area Religious Councils Pantry Network

UCAN—Urbandale Community Action Network 

Oakridge Neighborhood Services 

YMCA Supportive Housing Campus 

Bidwell Riverside Food Pantry 

CFUM—Children & Family Urban Movement 

Urban Dreams 

Polk County River Place Food Pantry 

Creative Visions 

The Spot/Good Vibes Yoga/Forest Avenue Outreach 

Central Iowa Shelter & Services 

Youth Shelter & Services 

Veteran Affairs—Community Resource & Referral Center 

Safety Measures.

  • + Our drivers are encouraged to not operate their routes if they are feeling under the weather.
  • + Drivers are being provided single-use gloves for pick-up and delivery of donations.
  • + Drivers have cleaning methods to keep food-grade totes clean before delivering to recipient sites.
  • + We are practicing “no-contact” deliveries to avoid the contagion and/or spread of contagion.

How you can help.

Stay home if you can. Social distancing will help slow community spread and keep our must vulnerable from contracting this novel coronavirus. Think about donating to your local food pantry or food bank to support their efforts to serve our community.

Steven Williams (he/him/his)

Operations Manager | Eat Greater Des Moines

501 SW 7TH, SUITE G2


515-207-8908 ext. 3


Our Commitment to Our Community
At Eat Greater Des Moines, we are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 as it begins to impact us locally. We have every intention of continuing our mission to unite the community in providing quality access to food for all, especially in times of uncertainty. 

As public officials urge “social distancing” and other precautionary measures, we are taking steps to ensure that we safely continue our operations and even increase our efforts as more people become vulnerable to food insecurity, while taking measures to keep our staff, food rescue drivers and food recipients healthy.

Steps we are taking:

  • STAFF—Our staff members have paid time off and have the ability to work remotely. They also have been directed to not come into work if they are not feeling well and/or if a family member is ill.
  • FOOD RESCUE DRIVERS—We are working with our team of drivers to make sure we take the proper steps to effectively and safely provide food to our community members in need during this vulnerable time.

How we are responding to make food available to those in need:
It is more important than ever to continue our daily operations in delivering perfectly good food to those most in need. We are working closely with other community partners as we continue to monitor the situation.

With Des Moines Public Schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa closing until Monday, March 30th, we are now working to shift our delivery routes. We will be increasing the volume of food delivered at some locations and expanding to new temporary locations.

Regarding the concern of virus transmission through donated food:
Some people may be concerned about the virus being transmitted through food. We have always been focused on safe food practices.

The USDA reports that there have been no cases of COVID-19 that have been proven to be transmitted through food or packaging. While there is still much that is unknown about the virus, remember that almost any food—from a grocery store or a restaurant or a food delivery service—has been handled by someone, and in most cases, multiple people. We are diligently instructing our staff and volunteers to follow the same precautions of food handlers in other industries. There is nothing to suggest the risk in our food delivery system is any higher than those in other food distribution systems. We will continue to stay in close contact with our staff and volunteers as the situation evolves and we know more.

How you can help:

  • If you are managing an event, school, or catering cancellation—your food can still go to good use! Download the ChowBank app  to list your donation and connect with an organization that can put it to good use.
  • Make a cash donation to Des Moines Area Religious Council rather than donating items. Donating cash can serve a lot more people because DMARC is able to purchase up to 6 times more food with your dollar than you can in the grocery store. Make a donation here.

The health and safety of everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable, is our top priority, as it always has been. We are all in this together.

Aubrey Alvarez, MPA
Executive Director | Eat Greater Des Moines
501 SW 7th St. Suite G
Des Moines, IA 50309

Joie Probst

Joie Probst

Communication & Outreach Manager