MT. PLEASANT — As shutdowns due to the coronavirus affect communities across southeast Iowa, the Fellowship Cup is here to help those facing financial struggles. The local nonprofit plans to continue to serve Henry County as long as they are able to.
“Our priority is to be here as much as we can,” Ken Brown, executive director of the Fellowship Cup, said.
Brown added he anticipates people who have never used the nonprofit’s food pantry before may look for some assistance as layoffs and hour reductions hit employees.
“Some people may have just been laid off or had two forms of income and now only have one. Also kids are at home, which may put more of a demand on resources. Hopefully people can put their pride away and come in. We’re preparing to serve more people than we ever have in the past,” Brown said.
Though Brown said it’s difficult to say how many more people will be coming in, he encourages anyone who needs assistance to call the nonprofits office or stop by. In addition to their usual food pantry, the Fellowship Cup has also started a program offering additional supplements for kid’s lunches in light of the school closures. While the organization usually has their food pantry pickup on Thursdays, Brown added that anyone who finds themselves out of food or resources throughout the week can drop by the office on other days as well.
“We got a lot of calls last week from people who have never used our services, asking how to sign up. We usually ask for their name, address and how many people in their household but they don’t need to sign up. They can just come in. Maybe they don’t qualify under USDA standards but right now, if they’re laid off, they have that need,” Brown said.
The executive director also encourages anyone in quarantine who many need extra assistance to call into the Fellowship Cup.
“Call us, let us know the situation. Seniors, people who are disable or just running out of resources, we’ll see how we can help. We may be able to get food and supplies delivered,” Brown said.
Though the nonprofit was prepared for a disaster situation and has enough resources to continue to serve the community for at least six months, the closures due to the coronavirus have also affected the Fellowship Cup. The nonprofit has had to close its Quarter or More Store, which usually supports its fixed bills like utilities and rent.
“The Fellowship Cup has never asked for cash donations in the past. We’ve been really blessed by this community. With the store closed, we’re going to need those resources,” Brown said, “It’s not devastating us right now but it could get tough depending on how long it goes for, but we’re able to provide for the community without being panicked right now.”
In addition to cash donations, Brown said the food pantry is always looking for canned foods as well as complete box meals, soup and baked beans.
Brown said the organization continues to work closely with other agencies like Community Action to provide people resources with rent and utilities through the outbreak. The Fellowship Cup will continue to operate during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Their food pantry pickup continues to be held on Thursday mornings.