By Margaret Stadtwald
 “The support of companies, like Monsanto, just adds to the success of Muscatine,” said Scott Dahlke, interim executive director of Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA), as he accepted $7,250 from Monsanto. With this generous donation, MCSA will begin offering several new services to better support MCSA residents and those in need throughout the Muscatine community.
 Part of the donation will go to making the kitchen at MCSA easier for those staying in its shelter to use. When not in use by community groups, anyone staying at MCSA may prepare meals or snacks in it. Outfitted with two stoves, a large refrigerator, restaurant sized sinks, ample counter space, and a variety of cooking appliances, many families utilize it regularly. Because of its popularity, multiple families often use it at once, making pots, pans, and other basic cooking utensils a hot commodity. To ease this strain and to continue to encourage families to use the facility, MCSA will spend part of the Monsanto donation to purchase more of these kitchen necessities. “It’s important for families to still cook for the time that they have here. It gives them a sense of dignity,” states Dahlke. With the donation from Monsanto, more MCSA families will enjoy the comfort and familiarity of cooking meals the way they would in their home.
MCSA will spend the other half of the Monsanto donation to purchase diabetic testing strips to use in its new health clinic. The newest addition to its service providers, the health clinic will join the low cost mental health, optometry, pediatric dental, family counseling, and after school care programs offered by a variety of service providers in the MCSA basement. Anyone in the Muscatine community with financial need can utilize these services. MCSA hopes the new health clinic will offer a convenient and affordable way for low income families around Muscatine to take care of their basic healthcare needs. “Healthcare is often not something people in poverty put first,” explains Dahlke. “Having a wellness clinic here is crucial for improving health outcomes for these folks. It gets people back to work faster and healthier, so they can work harder and bring a paycheck home.”
The $7,250 donation from Monsanto represents just one part of the company’s efforts to support Muscatine. “This is part of our overall giving back to the community,” Monsanto plant manager Shawn Schrader emphasized as he delivered Monsanto’s check to Dahlke. “On average, we donate about $150,000 in total back to the community. . .. All the events we try to support are around food and hunger and nutrition, around science and STEM education, around leading the community.” Monsanto’s donation to MCSA goes above and beyond this mission. Not only does it promote nutritious cooking and better access to healthcare, it provides a sense of normalcy to those getting a fresh start at MCSA, and it helps all members of the Muscatine community stay healthy and work productively.