Food @ First Community Meals - Status During COVID


Food at First is a food pantry open to anyone who needs food…no questions asked. 

Food at First is located across from the Ames Police Station and is housed in the First Christian Church.  Due to COVID, the operations have changed…as has the need for volunteers.

FAF serves daily meals and conducts a three-times-a week free market.  Sunday through Friday meals are at 5:45 p.m.  Saturday meal is 11:45.  Free market is Monday, 4:00; Thursday, 4:00; Saturday, 10:00.

All meals and market are prepared in the church because of COVID and distributed outside the locked building. 

Possible volunteer opportunities…Please see the Food at First website to volunteer or call Mary Ellen Wishart, 515-708-1468 for more information.

We could use your help as head cook, food preparer, food server, market food bagger, market distributor, gleaner, weekly 3-hour volunteer.

*Head cook  As of 1/1/21,  St. Thomas volunteers cook once a month.  We could be assigned more often if we identified more “head cooks.”  It is the job of the head cook to plan the meal and coordinate volunteers to prepare and serve the meal.  The head cook is helped to learn the job by FAF manager Patty Yoder.

*Food preparer  Five people work from 3-5 p.m. on the day of the meal, preparing food under the direction of the head cook.

*Food server  Five people work from 4:30-7 p.m., packaging food and distributing the food to guests (outside).

Market food bagger  Five people work from 2-4 p.m. (or 8-10 a.m. on Saturday) to bag fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and meat.  They take these bags along with other surplus food to the covered outdoor shed.

Market food distributor   Five people are stationed outdoors to distribute food to customers.  This usually takes an hour (4-5 Monday and Thursday, 10-11 Saturday)

Gleaner  Many volunteers are needed to pick up surplus food from restaurants, ISU, and stores.  Currently there are 66 routes available, and if you are interested, someone would set you up with about a 2-hour pickup.  It would be helpful if you have an SUV rather than a sedan.

Weekly 3-hour volunteer  This person works one day a week from 12-3 to assist manager Patty and allow her time to complete office work.  Usually this involves answering the door and packaging food.

At this time STA provides about 40 volunteer hours per week.  Please join us!