To be honest, I’ve struggled to put words to paper (or to screen, in this case) since I started working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Of course, it hasn’t helped my productivity that I’m also taking care of my daughter, who is out of daycare. She has interrupted me three times since I started writing these two paragraphs. (“Mom! I’m cold. Mom! I’m thirsty. Moooommm! The light is too bright.”)
And I hate to admit this, but I haven’t had the time – or energy – to cook on my working days. We lived off peanut butter sandwiches, crackers and cheese, and ice cream during the first few couple weeks of working from home.
Then I discovered that our local elementary school was offering free lunches and breakfasts for kids of all ages in the school district. So, on a Monday morning, I strapped my daughter into her car seat, drove to the school and waited in line behind minivans, kids on bikes and parents pushing strollers.
Like a league of superheroes, the cafeteria staff rushed outside to give out boxes of hot lunches and breakfasts for the families patiently waiting in line.
When they handed us lunch through the car window, their kindness overwhelmed me. I cried on the drive home. I was so happy that my daughter would get a hot, nutritious meal for lunch.
And as my neighbor, who has three young kids at home right now, said during one of our over-the-hedge conversations: “It’s so great! I love the school lunches! There’s so much milk!”
Because what I’ve discovered is that even one little girl can go through a whole gallon of milk in less than a week’s time. And no one likes going to the grocery store more than we have to right now. I guess the point of my rambling (“Mom! I want your phone!”) is that I truly want to thank the school cafeteria staff, teachers and administrators for providing much-needed lunches while the kids are out of school.
I also want to thank the dairy farmers who care for their cows every day to supply kids with the safe, nutritious milk that their growing bodies need.
And I’m thankful for all the Iowa farmers who are planting this year’s crops to grow feed for farm animals and fuel for the trucks that transport our food.
If anything, this experience has reinforced my belief that, no matter the circumstances, everyone deserves access to safe, healthy food. Iowa food pantries are seeing an unprecedented surge in demand for food relief because of COVID-related business closures and unemployment.
Many Iowa farmers have donated fresh meat, milk, and eggs to local food banks. They are also stepping up to help first responders with hot meals and needed protective equipment.
The Iowa Farm Bureau has joined these relief efforts, donating $100,000 to the Iowa Food Bank Association, plus up to $500 in matching funds to county Farm Bureaus who make a donation to their local food pantries. These combined donations have provided more than 1 million meals to Iowans in need.
For more information about how you can feed the need in Iowa, please visit https://www.iowafba.org/.