Dubuque Organization Feeds a Growing Need - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Organization Feeds a Growing Need

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- People turned out in record numbers for a Saturday morning food giveaway.

The Dubuque Area Labor Harvest holds a food giveaway one Saturday every month. This time around, according to board member and volunteer Ron Koppes, numbers were higher than the organization had seen in the last few years.

"A couple of years ago, we were probably doing a couple hundred people at a food giveaway, and now, some of the months we're over 400," Koppes said.

This Saturday, more than 430 people made their way through the doors of the Dubuque Area Labor Harvest at 423 West Locust Street. Of those, more than 50 were registering for the first time.

Koppes said the continued poor economic climate has contributed to the increase. He said the numbers he's seeing remind him of the organization's early years, when it became an official non-profit in 1989.

"Back in the 80s, when they used to say, 'the last one out of Dubuque, turn the lights off,' there was a great need," Koppes said. "People were laid off and everything and needed that food, and that's why we started."

It has been Koppes' mission -- along with other long-time volunteers -- to carry out a core belief.

"There's no reason that, in the United States, that anybody should go hungry," Koppes said.

"When I was a young guy, I needed a lot of help, too. I went through the depression," said volunteer Jim Lewis. "I'm 81 years old."

Lewis joined several family members in volunteering Saturday morning, including his daughter, son-in-law and nephew.

They weren't the only family members working together to help neighbors.

Rob Welch brought his 13-year-old son Brandon to help their community.

"It's going to show him that there are people in need out there, and it's a good thing to volunteer work," Brandon's dad said. "It helps a lot of people out."

The Dubuque Area Labor Harvest is funded by grants from FEMA and the Dubuque Racing Association, as well as private donations.

Koppes said anybody interested in donating food or money or being a volunteer can call the organization and ask for him, at 563-583-3533. Also, Koppes said, the organization has a sign in its window posting the dates of both food giveaway and Saturday morning breakfasts for low-income Dubuque County residents and senior citizens.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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