Our History

Lu Anne Gafford, board member, remembers the idea for opening a food pantry:
As a branch manager at a Grimes bank, I was asked to cover a check for a retired customer living on a meager Social Security income. She faced a tough choice between buying prescribed medicine or having enough money for food that month. I provided her with food from our church’s collection for the DMARC Food Pantry.  This incident inspired the creation of a food pantry located in the Grimes United Methodist Church which was the predecessor to the current Grimes Storehouse.

Ben Wedeking, Pastor of Prairie Creek Church describes how the pantry was moved:
Upon moving to the area, I found the Grimes food pantry was based in our church. After two years, I recognizing the need to expand the food pantry’s outreach due to growing food insecurity in Grimes and collaborated with others to utilize a Jubilee fund to enable expansion.  We embarked on a search for a suitable location and, with community collaboration, identified a location on Ewing Street. Through prayer and teamwork, we established the Grimes Storehouse, in 2019. The dedicated leadership, board, and volunteers work daily to nourish the whole person, a mission that continues today.

Elaine Knudtson, retired, was our first Director.
When we opened our doors to the new pantry location, it allowed families to choose their food items. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, in-store shopping was temporarily halted, and pre-packing resumed, with support from the Food Bank of Iowa. Upon reopening for in-store shopping in 2022, the Grimes Storehouse continued to serve more families, thanks to volunteers, including receptionists, shopping assistants, and food couriers who collected surplus food from local businesses. These donations came from Walmart, Aldi, Hy-Vee, Kwik Star, Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh, and Kum & Go, including a variety of food items like bakery goods, fresh produce, dairy, prepared meals, and meat.

Jen Harrington, current Executive Director.
In March 2023, we learned that the adjacent suite was becoming available for rent. This presented a promising opportunity to fulfill our goal of a clothing closet and turn it into reality. Kirk Mickelson with KRM Development graciously offered to complete the remodel for us.  By July 2023, our expanded space was ready. This expansion improved the food pantry’s operational efficiency and added amenities like a waiting area, meeting rooms, offices, a volunteer breakroom, and extra storage. Notably, we established a Children’s Clothing Closet offering sizes from 4T to adult small, thanks to generous community donations. This clothing closet opened in September 2023.
In October 2023, we partnered with Many Hands for Haiti to provide clothing for families with children aged 18 or younger requiring adult medium or larger sizes. This collaboration aims to benefit these families and empower children by not only supplying nourishment but also boosting their self-esteem through quality clothing.
As our service to families continues to grow, we remain dedicated to finding new ways to help. The Grimes Storehouse Food Pantry’s mission is to feed the whole person, and we are enthusiastic about our service and excited about what the future holds.