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As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and Dubuque families became faced with the risk of infection and economic hardship, members of the Dubuque community came forward to try to help those in need.  The data below does not come close to capturing the time, resources, and effort devoted to supporting those impacted by the virus, but is instead a snapshot meant to provide some insight into how our region responded to this crisis.  After you have finished exploring this section, please join the conversation by submitting a comment at the bottom of the page.

Disaster Recovery Fund


Between March 20 and September 2 



was provided by the Disaster Recovery Fund to local organizations in order to support the COVID-19 relief effort.  The charts to the left and below show the distribution of what those funds supported.

The Disaster Recovery Fund was created by the Community Foundation in partnership with the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States and other local nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Together these organizations have focused over the last year on developing a collective strategy for charitable giving during times of crisis.


Nonprofit Support

Community Support.PNG

The majority of immigrants who come to the Lantern Center to improve their English are also essential employees. As you can see, based on the data, employees in the food service industries were some of the hardest-hit during this pandemic. Further, the unemployment and stimulus checks were not received by millions of tax-paying households, due to barring hard-working folks who may have a unique immigration status. If not for the collective generosity of over 70 local area residents, the religious sisters of the tri-states, and the Community Foundation, I shudder to think of what might have happened to our neighbors.

Megan Ruiz, Executive Director

Presentation Lantern Center

Community Support by year.PNG

Due to the challenges of collecting and quantifying the data, food provision during COVID-19 has not been included for these three graphs and charts.  Data on meals provided is included further down the page.

Financial Assistance Provided by Nonprofit Organizations During COVID-19 - March to August 2020

The information used above for the Nonprofit Support section was provided by the following organizations:

Catholic Charities

The Presentation Lantern Center

Resources Unite

The Salvation Army

This is not a comprehensive view of the support provided by nonprofit organizations in our area, but may help show a significant amount of the support that was provided, and what the funding went for.

Urgent cash assistance also includes cash provided for phone cards.


This information is not a comprehensive number of meals distributed in Dubuque County, but instead a comparison provided by two food providers - River Bend Foodbank and the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging Meals on Wheels program - showing the number of meals distributed during the COVID-19 outbreak compared to the same time period last year.

Both organizations saw increases of at least 67% between 2019 and 2020.

Pre-COVID, there were 8,500 food insecure persons in Dubuque County, 8.8% of the population. That number includes 2,950 children, which is 13.2%. Those people were missing 1,438,500 meals per year.


Post-COVID, there are now 13,455 food insecure persons in Dubuque County, 13.9%. Including 4,976 children, 22.3%.

Michael Miller, President and CEO 

River Bend Foodbank

Food Sites During COVID-19

During the initial onset of COVID-19 in Dubuque, one of the major challenges facing our community was around food security.  With businesses closing, unemployment rising, and much of the population in isolation, numerous government, nonprofit, and private organizations and individuals stepped forward to work to feed the city.

Below is a map of Dubuque county showing several different breakdowns of census tracts by demographic, economic, and housing data.  The map can be interacted with and explored, and the filters showing these breakdowns can be changed by pressing the eye symbols to the right of the map.  We have placed this map opposite of a map showing food sites in Dubuque during March and April of this year.  This map was produced through coordination by the Community Foundation and the City of Dubuque.  As you explore the map below, think about how food security has impacted Dubuque, and how it will be an issue we will need to confront in the future.

How to Use the Map

  • Click on the triangle on the picture of the map below to begin interacting with the map.

  • You may move around the map by clicking and dragging on the map.

  • Use the + and - buttons to zoom in or out.

  • On the right side of the map are a series of filters showing different pieces of data.  To move between filters, click the picture of an eye next to the filter you want to activate.

    • The eye will be crossed off when it is not active.

    • Only have one filter active at any one time!  Make sure you turn off your previous filter by clicking the eye next to the filter so it is crossed off.

  • You may click on any of the census tracts to see the specific data for that tract and that filter​.

The​ map below has the following filters showing data for each census tract:

  1. Unemployment rate during June, 2020;

  2. Percent of population that is a racial or ethnic minority;

  3. Median age of the population;

  4. Percent of households that are renter occupied;

  5. Percent of households whose monthly household costs are 30% or more of their monthly income.

Map of Food Distribution Sites March/April 2020

- City of Dubuque

Food Site list.PNG

Add your own reaction to this page so we can include it for future visitors



  • The data on unemployment during COVID-19 (June 2020) are estimates produced as part of a August 4, 2020 working paper by Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist, and Mark Steitz, principal at TSD Communications and an adjunct professor at Colombia University.  The working paper and data are available here. Additional visualizations can be found at the New York Times here. This data is estimated unemployment data, and should not be considered as reported data.

  • The 2018 Census Bureau's American Community Survey provided data on:

    • The percentage of residents who are a racial or ethnic minority,

    • The median age of residents,

    • The percent of households that are renter occupied, and

    • The percent of households where the monthly housing cost is 30% or more of the household's monthly income

All data from the charts was provided by local nonprofit organizations:

  • Data on the Disaster Recovery Fund was provided by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque;

  • Data on "Community Nonprofit Support" and "Financial Assistance" was provided by Catholic Charities, the Presentation Lantern Center, Resources Unite, and the Salvation Army;

  • Data on Food Distribution was provided by the Northeast Iowa Area Agency and River Bend Foodbank.

Catholic Charities provided a breakdown of funding by month and by overall category.  This was used to estimate the breakdown of funding by category by month.

Data for number of people assisted by category for Resources Unite was estimated using average funds provided per category for June 2020 and July 2020.


Food site map shows a section of food sites in Dubuque during March/April of 2020.  The map was created through a collaboration by the City of Dubuque and the Community Foundation.

Continue Exploring

The coronavirus has posed a challenge for Dubuque like no other, impacting all areas of our lives, from our health to children’s education.

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