Fort Madison teen works to create food pantry cookbook

Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 6:44 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - One Fort Madison teen is trying to help feed the community, but she needs your help with the ingredients.

The 16-year-old has been volunteering at food pantries for years, spending four to five hours a week at them.

Abrie Asay said after seeing how many people the Fort Madison Food Pantry helps, Asay decided she wanted to do even more for them.

“I strongly believe that people should have the ability to make tasty nutritious meals regardless of their financial situation at home,” Asay said. “Regardless of the variety of food that they have in their cupboards, regardless if they have a stove or not, or if they’re just tryin to cook on a hot plate. Everybody should have a good meal to sit down with and eat and enjoy with their families.”

That’s when she came up with the cookbook idea.

It would be free and feature recipes that utilize food you often see at pantries and that you can make using appliances other than stoves or ovens, like microwaves or hot plates.

”You know at the food pantry, we give out items all the time to try and help people, but with the limited amount of food items that people have and the limited amount of kitchen appliances, sometimes people can’t make a lot of variety of tasty nutritious meals and so I guess I kind of just want to expand people’s ability to make great food,” Asay said.

Asay is aiming to get 500 printed as she said the pantry constantly serves around 500 families. However, to get the cookbooks professionally bound it will cost more than $2,000.

Asay will continue to search for recipes for a couple more months, but plans to start building the manuscript in hopes of distributing the final copies around Christmas.

To help build her cookbook, Asay is looking for the community’s help. If you have recipes you’d be willing to share that include common food pantry items, you can email them to or drop them off at the Fort Madison Food Pantry; mail them to 3402 Avenue L, Fort Madison IA 52627.

When sending in a recipe, also include the name and address of the person submitting the recipe and, optionally, the author of the recipe.

Asay continues to fundraise money to print the books and welcomes donors or donations.

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