County Farm Bureaus across Iowa have stepped up to feed the growing need for food through the Feed the Need effort.
In early April, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) donated $100,000 to the Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA). The state organization also announced that it would match the donations up to $500 from each of Iowa’s county Farm Bureaus through April 24.
The effort produced a total of 203 donations to food pantries across the state, with county Farm Bureaus contributing more than $60,000. With matching funds from the state organization, more than 1 million meals were provided to Iowans in need.
The need for food assistance is very real, according to the IFBA. The organization is seeing four times the number of new requests for food due to COVID-19-related temporary business closures, leaving people without work.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to Iowans across the state who continue to be impacted by this ongoing challenge,” said Craig Hill, IFBF president. “Despite the crisis facing agriculture today, Iowa farmers have always pulled together to help their communities out during difficult times.”
Linda Gorkow, executive director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, said: “This substantial gift from the Iowa Farm Bureau supports our vital work across the state to ensure Iowans receive much needed food.”
The IFBA is 99% funded through private and public donations and is reliant upon the generosity of Iowans to provide meals to all areas of the state. The six regional nonprofit food banks serving Iowa include River Bend Foodbank, Food Bank of Iowa, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Food Bank for the Heartland, Food Bank of Siouxland and HACAP Food Reservoir.
In addition to the need for monetary donations, the food banks serving Iowa are facing a significant decline in volunteers to pack boxes and assist at mobile food pantries. The majority of food bank volunteers are seniors who are in the at-risk category for COVID-19 and haven't been able to assist. Volunteers are now needed to help package food for seniors and families.