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 Foodbank after 30 years of partnership. St. Stephen’s Food Bank is now a branch of River Bend Foodbank, where the commitment to feed the hungry in Dubuque and Jackson Counties, and close the meal gap, will continue to grow.
River Bend Foodbank 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.