St. Stephen’s Food Bank was established in 1982 following a national information search. Located in the back of the Dubuque Rescue Mission, 25,000 pounds of food was distributed to 12 agencies that first year. In 1983, the USDA Commodity Distribution was included, and then in 1986 the Re-Harvest program was initiated, reclaiming prepared and perishable foods from local sources. In 2006, St. Stephen’s purchased a warehouse in Dubuque, Iowa that is its current location.
In 2018, the St. Stephen’s Food Bank Board of Directors decided to merge with River Bend Food Bank after 30 years of partnership. St. Stephen’s Food Bank is now a branch of River Bend Food Bank, where the commitment to feed the hungry in Dubuque and Jackson Counties, and close the meal gap, will continue to grow.
River Bend Food Bank has resources to offer, including a considerably larger warehouse, freezer, and coolers, a broader staff infrastructure, and an online ordering system, that St. Stephen’s Food Bank does not have the capacity for. By merging, reaching the goal of ending hunger in Dubuque and Jackson Counties can be accomplished more quickly. Last year, St. Stephen’s Food Bank distributed 1,511,407 meals of nutritious high-quality food in Dubuque and Jackson Counties with one full time and 4-part time employees. That was an increase of over 22% from the prior year.
Jack Rolling, one of the founders of St. Stephen’s Food Bank, discusses the history of St. Stephen’s below.
River Bend Food Bank relies on the generosity of its supporters to help fight hunger in eastern lowa and western Illinois. Each year, over 22 million meals are missed in our service area. Your financial support is essential to bridging the meal gap in our community.
Volunteers are crucial to the operation of River Bend Food Bank. Without volunteers, it would not be possible to collect, sort, and distribute all the food that comes through our warehouse every day. Together we're feeding people today and ending hunger tomorrow.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hunger, please let us help you. Find a food pantry or meal site near you with our interactive map.