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Ecumenical Lord’s Cupboard Uses Funding to Purchase Freezers, Increase Food Offerings

Ramona Arthur, Operations Manager at Ottumwa’s Ecumenical Lord’s Cupboard, has seen an increase in families needing food since she began her role in July 2021. “We have noticed that we’ve had an increase in the number of older adults we are seeing as well as those who are underemployed,” she said. 


The Ecumenical Lord’s Cupboard received a grant from the 31st cycle of the Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund to purchase three freezers to offer more perishable items to food recipients. The pantry currently provides perishable foods in the form of frozen meat and refrigerated items. However, their current freezers are more than a decade old. “We have had a freezer break down with hundreds of pounds of food inside, which was lost.” Arthur recounted in the organization’s BICEF application. 


As food costs rise, Arthur is hopeful that the new freezer will help pantry participants stretch their food dollars further. “We’ve learned from our own purchasing of food that food costs have increased, and if we can provide perishable foods along with staples like canned vegetables, cereal, and pasta, those whom we serve will be able to use their food budgets more efficiently.”


Individuals currently struggling with food insecurity can visit SIEDA for a food pantry referral. Referrals can then be taken to the pantry, located at 505 W. Main Street, Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m and 3:00 p.m. 


Cycle 32 of the Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund will begin accepting applications on February 1, 2022. To learn more about the program, including how to submit your organization’s Bright Idea, visit