The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in an increase in food insecure Iowans across the state. To help feed the growing need, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation donated $100,000 to the Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) this spring and announced a contribution match of up to $500 to each of Iowa’s county Farm Bureaus.
As a result, a total of 203 donations were made to food pantries across the state, with county Farm Bureaus contributing more than $60,000. With matching funds from the Iowa Farm Bureau, more than 1 million meals were provided to Iowans in need.
The IFBA says they are seeing four times the number of new requests for food due to COVID-19-related temporary business closures leaving people without work.
The IFBA is 99 percent funded through private and public donations and is completely 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 HACP Food Reservoir.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to Iowans across the state who continue to be impacted by this ongoing challenge. Despite the crisis facing agriculture today, Iowa farmers have always pulled together to help their communities out during difficult times,” said Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill and a farmer from Milo. “I am inspired by the contributions of our county Farm Bureaus in supporting our Feed the Need effort.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need of food resources for children, families and seniors across the state. The Feeding America food banks serving Iowa and their partners continue to work tirelessly to serve Iowa,” said Linda Gorkow, executive director of the Iowa Food Bank Association. “This substantial gift from the Iowa Farm Bureau supports our vital work across the state to ensure Iowans receive much needed food.”
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.