OCM Brings Holiday Cheer to Bidwell Riverside Center

posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

We’re so grateful you thought of us,” said Missy Reams, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager for Bidwell Riverside Center. “This will put some smiles of the faces of the families we’ll serve this month, which is even more meaningful at Christmastime.”

The team of Elves Jen and Jenn delivered 30 cases of pork loins to Bidwell, a donation intended to contribute to the holiday meal packages being prepared for the families they serve.

Reams says Bidwell Riverside Center is the highest serving food pantry in Iowa, serving over 16,000 individuals (around 6,500 families) each year. A pantry that has served Iowa for an astounding 127 years, Missy said last month they saw a near record number of families.

“The last few months has been really tough on families as so many workers have been displaced due to COVID,” said Reams. “Holidays are about being together as a family, and these roasts are going to go out in their Christmas food packages, something that will make the meal special and bring some happiness.”

Calls inquiring about the Christmas food packages have skyrocketed. “We receive anywhere from 50-100 calls a day to inquire about the Christmas food package now, as families recognize they won’t otherwise have the means to afford a holiday meal.”

“Meat is expensive compared to some of the other ingredients we include,” said Reams. “We strive for a well-balanced diet and make every effort to make meat available to our families, however, we rarely have something as extravagant as a roast. We’re excited and our families will be, too.”

In addition to operating a Food and Clothing Pantry, Bidwell’s Child Development Center cares for 40-60 children, and despite COVID has remained open in order to provide care for children whose parents are considered essential workers.

At the child development center, children are provided breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack, another critical benefit to keeping the center open and operating. “Food, especially nutritious foods contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children,” said Reams. “It’s so important to us that we give these children and families access to healthy foods, it critical to their health and wellness, and ability to make it through this difficult time.”