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Pay It Forward | Moore Local grocery store owner helps her small town neighbors

Heather Moore is the owner of Moore Local, a Maquoketa store that stocks locally-grown products. They donated extra food to those in need during the pandemic.

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — During the pandemic, Heather Moore and her husband couldn’t sleep at night, worried about their town. They were worried because in their small town of Maquoketa, their groceries stores had little food.

“You could look out your window and see dairy farms and bee farms, but you couldn’t go to your local store and get food,” Heather said.

Some small towns struggled with a low food supply during the pandemic, leaving the people who were raising the animals to go hungry.

From March 2020 to May 2020, Heather and her family were using extra food they got from a supplier to make door deliveries to the elderly, immune compromised, and other towns smaller than Maquoketa.

Heather and her husband got the idea to create Moore Local as a way for the local community to have a way to get groceries.

Moore Local has food from local and regional farmers.

“A lot of the food that is within our store will be [made within] three and half miles. [They will be] born on our farm, raised on our farm and then be sold to our community,” Heather said.

Heather cares about her community not only physically but emotionally. This past summer she held a free coffee event to help the community cope with the tragic shooting at the Maquoketa Caves.

RELATED: Victims, suspect identified after Maquoketa Caves State Park triple-homicide

“Our community was really struggling with how do you mourn people that you never met? How do you mourn what the community has lost? I saw a lot of us were struggling to put that lost into words how that affected our community," Heather said.

All the community had to do was show up, Heather provided everything. She just wanted people to get together to help the town move forward

“I think people need to meet, I think we need to talk, I think we need to have conversations and we need to start the healing process,” Heather said. “We come together when good things happen, and we have to come together when bad things happen too.”

A lot of people showed up, getting together for the first time since the shooting.

Agriculture and children are very near and dear to Heather’s heart. Heather is a supporter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and schools take field trips to her farm to learn about farming, specifically dairy farming. She also donates to local school athletics programs.

A few years ago, Heather helped with the idea of the Andrew’s Daycare. The town of Andrew, Iowa didn’t have any registered daycares in their whole school district. 

When this was brought to Heather’s attention while she was volunteering on the board of local daycare in Maquoketa, she got in contact with some Andrew community members, some Maquoketa board of daycare members, some school board members, and the superintendent. Within 45 minutes, there was a concept for the daycare and a place to have it. 

The daycare has since transitioned from being a part of the Maquoketa non-profit daycare to being affiliated with the school district. The Andrews community now has several daycares.

Heather still finds time to help fellow women entrepreneurs like herself. She created a group of local women entrepreneurs who meet to discuss business and support each other. 

Do you know someone that goes above and beyond for his or her community? News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union would like to help you Pay it Forward to them. Click here to nominate someone you know.

See previous Pay It Forward award winners:

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