Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin in 1831, recognized the many needs of people who were economically poor in early nineteenth century Ireland and determined she, and women like her, could make a difference. These founding beliefs guide Mercy College as we educate students and instill our core values of knowledge, reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence.

With these core values in mind, Mercy College has created Catherine's Cabinet, a food bank providing supplemental support to students who are facing food insecurity and need assistance. Although supplemental support does not supply all the food needed, the goal is to provide food and other items to help students with their basic needs.

How did Catherine's Cabinet get started? 

In 2016, a student was chatting with staff and faculty members on campus and mentioned all they eat every day is a single cheese sandwich. Mercy College staff and faculty decided something needed to be done to help, and Catherine's Cabinet was created.

Who is eligible?

Mercy College students who struggle with food insecurity or need assistance are eligible to participate.

Where is Catherine's Cabinet located?

There are two campus locations: Academic Center for Excellence - Room 184 and Sullivan Center - Room 122.

How do you receive food?

Simply go to Catherine's Cabinet and take what you need. If students need additional food, we can help by referring them to other food programs in the Des Moines area.  Catherine’s Cabinet is a welcoming and supportive student community - we are here to serve.

How do you donate?

Donate from anywhere.  See the Catherine's Cabinet Amazon Wishlist.  Send to 928 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA 50309

Simply drop food items off at Catherine's Cabinet. Our most needed food items include:

  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned fruit  
  • Protein bars
  • Granola bars
  • Rice
  • Flavored noodles/Flavored Rice packets
  • Beans (Dry or Canned)
  • Ramen noodles
  • Cheese/cracker combo packs
  • Snack cups (pudding, fruit, applesauce, etc.)
  • Microwave meals (pasta cups, beef stew, mac & cheese cups, pop-top soup or pastas)
  • Meat sticks/beef jerky (individual servings)
  • Peanut butter
  • On-the-go drink mixes (individual packets)
  • Infant formula

What other items are available?

Gift cards in small denominations to various locations across Des Moines may be available for those needing assistance with gas or items the cabinet does not stock.  Other non-food items (i.e.,  personal hygiene, feminine hygiene, diapers, etc.) may be available from time-to-time, depending on donations.  

How is Catherine's Cabinet supported?

Catherine's Cabinet is supported by the Mercy College community including faculty, staff, and students. 

Who should I contact for more information?

Contact Bo Bonner, MDiv.Director of Mission and Ministry. Phone: (515) 643-6736; office: Sullivan Center, Room 016; email: