More space for service at UDMO

Work is ongoing at Upper Des Moines Opportunity Hamilton County Outreach Center as the organization renovates its food bank and storage space.

Mary Ohrtman, UDMO Outreach Director, said the renovations have been planned since late winter this year. Work began early this week to give the organization more room in its facility located in the All Cultures Equal building on the eastern edge of Webster City.

The organization had been using its food bank space as storage for other projects from school supplies to Christmas projects.

“We were bursting at the seams,” Ohrtman said. “It was overflowing into our office space and we were running out of room.”

UDMO received a grant from the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation to fund some of the renovations, including additional shelving. To store the supplies the organization uses for special programs, UDMO is also renovating a storage space connected to the food bank. Other work also includes double doors being installed into the street entrance to the food bank.

“We’ll have space to move around,” Ohrtman said. “We’ll even have a table so we can sort items as they come in by expiration date and by product.”

Much of the construction is expected to be completed this week. During the renovations, the All Cultures Equal building has allowed UDMO to move its food pantry operations into Moon Hall at ACE.

Doug Bailey, ACE Board Member, said after school activities in the room are also ongoing during the UDMO renovation and the use of the room has allowed the food pantry program to continue during the construction.

“It’s been a good partnership here between All Cultures Equal and Upper Des Moines,” Bailey said.

The organizations are still looking for funding for the renovations. Bailey said they are close enough to their goal that they proceeded with construction, but have not yet raised enough money to fully pay for the project.

Ohrtman also said she is looking for carpet donations to help senior volunteers better cope with volunteer shifts. The food pantry itself, according to Ohrtman, is always looking for support as well.

“I think people tend to forget that the food pantry is all-year round,” Ohrtman said. “They really focus on it during the holiday seasons and coming into fall our food pantry is usually very low. We rely on the community for this program.”

Those wishing to donate or volunteer can contact UDMO at 832-6451.