U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst visited Spencer on Tuesday, making stops at Grand Avenue Community Outreach and The Iowa Project Brewing Company.
During her visit, Ernst praised the outreach (GACO) for its approach to helping people in the community.
“You do want to make sure you are finding solutions and an avenue for someone if they can’t find what they need here, finding it somewhere else or giving them advice on where they can go to get assistance,” Ernst said. “That’s exactly what you have developed here in your own community. It’s basically a one-stop shop for the folks that need it the most.”
GACO is a nonprofit that provides social services and outreach programs, including free health and dental clinics, a food pantry, a clothing outreach and a community kitchen, to Spencer and the surrounding area.
GACO’s building is also home to other organizations, including Birthright International, Family Crisis Centers and All those Yesterdays, a counseling service.
“That’s exactly what we need to do as communities,” Ernst said. “It’s really important to offer these types of services.”
Ernst noted that she saw diapers available at GACO for those who need them. She is working with Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat representing Connecticut, on a bill that supports what Ernst called “a diaper bank initiative” that would support efforts to provide diapers to families that need them.
“Diapers are really expensive,” Ernst explained. “That is such a basic need for our families. And if you are a family that can’t afford diapers, wow, how demoralizing is that when you know you can’t care for your child.”
The senator said “we have a lot of work to do as a nation” in helping provide that type of support to families.
“You certainly make it easier on the ground when we’re able to pull together as a community and find a path forward,” Ernst said.
Ernst later visited The Iowa Project Brewing Company in Spencer.
Ernst, a Republican, will face Democrat Theresa Greenfield in the general election in November.
Feature image: U.S. Sen Joni Ernst tours the free medical clinic area at Grand Avenue Community Outreach in Spencer.