Iowa food bank shatters all-time record as specter of food insecurity looms larger

DES MOINES — Iowa’s largest food bank set another record during November, distributing 2.15 million pounds of food, the most ever during a single month. It tops the previous record set during the height of the pandemic in October of 2020.

Annette Hacker, spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Iowa, says the number of Iowans facing food insecurity continues to climb at an alarming rate.

“More than 191,000 individuals were served, and the sobering part of that is that 42% are children,” Hacker says. “In addition to those served at our partner pantries, thousands more sought help through meal sites the Food Bank of Iowa supports to the tune of about 175,000 meals served.”

Studies find up to 36 percent of Iowa families and individuals don’t make enough money to cover the cost of basic needs. Hacker says it’s a social injustice we can’t ignore.

“Most of the people we serve are working people,” Hacker says. “There’s a misnomer that people who need food assistance are sitting at home on the couch and watching television and that’s simply not the case. Many of the people we serve are working two or three jobs, sometimes with no benefits, trying to string together a living but they’re really struggling.”

Hacker says there are three things the food bank always needs: food, funds and friends.

“If you can come and volunteer, if you can donate to help us buy more food, if you can have a food drive yourself and bring in that food,” Hacker says, “and most of all to advocate for our neighbors who need help with food, and help others to realize this is a real problem in our state and in our country, and this should not be a place where anybody goes to bed hungry.”

The Food Bank of Iowa and its partners serve people in 55 counties, including most of the counties in our listening area.