The Crisis Center Food Bank distributes 106,000 pounds of food each month to help alleviate hunger in Johnson County.
(Nearly 1.3 million pounds annually!)
Thanks to the generosity of individuals, churches, organizations, and businesses, 70% of that amount is donated.
Dropping Your Donations Off
The Crisis Center Food Bank is located at 1121 Gilbert Court in Iowa City. At the far (west) end of our parking lot, enter the brown double doors marked Donations and a volunteer will assist you.
Donations are accepted without an appointment Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesdays until 7:00 p.m. It’s best to avoid dropping off over the noon hour, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. The parking lot is often very full and volunteers may not be readily available for assistance (Monday is our busiest day of the week). We are not able to pick up donated items at this time.
The Crisis Center can also accept donations evenings and weekends. Please call the 24-Hour Crisis Line at (319) 351-0140 to make arrangements.
Food Donation Guidelines
We CAN accept expired food products. Most food codes are to ensure the freshness of food, not its safety. Food that has passed the date stamp is not automatically “bad.”
Baby food, formula and other baby items
We CAN accept baby food and formula that has not yet reached its expiration date. After the expiration date the nutritive value decreases, which could pose a health risk to babies. We can also accept baby wipes, diapers, and other hygiene items like baby shampoo or lotion.
We CAN accept slightly dented cans but cans which have sharp creases, bulges or rust that cannot easily be rubbed off must be discarded.
Donations of domestic meat or wild game
We CAN accept meat donations, if they meet the following requirements:
- Must be processed by a state or federally inspected processing plant or meat locker.
- Meat must be packaged and labeled indicating:
- Name of the animal, and ideally the cut or type of meat product
- Name and location address of processing facility
We are UNABLE to accept unlabeled food, or any food packages that do not list every ingredient.
We are UNABLE to accept food that has been canned or preserved at home. We can only distribute food that has been processed by a commercial kitchen or company.
Meat from your freezer
We are UNABLE to accept meat bought at the store and stored any amount of time in your freezer. The concern is the inability to verify the consistent storage temperature of the product.
Garden or farm produce donations
We strive to provide our clients with the most wholesome foods possible.
- Please only donated produce that you would enjoy eating yourself. Do not donate fruits and vegetables that are overripe, have mold, bruising, spoilage or insect damage.
- Produce must be free of mold or decay and have enough shelf life to remain in good condition for at least 3-5 days.
- Produce must be properly packed in cardboard boxes, crates, or other sturdy containers in order to prevent damage and bruising.
- Produce must be sanitary and free of rodents and insects, which can spread disease
- Produce must be grown using water obtained from a public water system that is free from pathogens and other contaminants
- Produce must be handled only by persons who have followed proper hand-washing procedures and are free of illnesses, which could contaminate the produce.
- Before donating, please wipe as much mud and dirt as possible off of the produce, but do not rinse the produce. Rinsing the produce takes off some of the natural protective coating and will cause the produce to spoil sooner than if it wasn’t rinsed. For root vegetables, please DO rinse off dirt and allow to air dry before donating.
- Use a clean transport vehicle; produce should be isolated and nowhere near cleaning supplies, other chemicals, dirty clothes, trash, etc. Do not transport produce in a vehicle also used to transport manure.
- Eggs: We can accept egg donations if they are labeled and graded, come from a producer licensed in Iowa, and have been stored consistently at a temperature at or below 45F.
Clothing and Hygiene Items
We can accept hygiene and cleaning items such as shampoo, lotion, body wash, laundry detergent, and spray cleaners even if they have been opened, we just ask that they be purchased within the last year and at least half full. We can also accept full rolls of toilet paper and paper towels, unopened boxes of facial tissue, and other paper goods.
The only items we provide as services are adult and baby foods, hygiene items, and cleaning products. Therefore we do not accept by donation:
- Cribs, car seats, and other baby equipment
- Household wares including sheets, blankets, dinnerware, etc.
- School supplies
Our storage space is limited so we do not accept or distribute clothing or household items (we recommend our partner agencies, the Crowded Closet or Goodwill of the Heartland) or furniture (the Furniture Project).
Which is Better – Food or Money?
We only purchase non-perishable food items, but clients often request fresh food, baby-related items, hygiene products, cleaners and pet food. These items are only available to our clients when you and our community of supporters generously donate them.
Please visit our Financial Contributions page for information about other giving opportunities.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Canned Fruit & 100% Fruit Juice
Pastas & Rice
Hearty Soups & Stews
Baby Diapers (all sizes)
Baby Formula & Food