Thank you for reading this special publication, Iowa Stops Hunger. It may be hard to believe that hunger can exist in a state that prides itself on feeding the world, yet food insecurity is the harsh reality for too many Iowans. Unfortunately, many more Iowans have experienced food insecurity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just as we’ve been a leader in food production throughout our state’s history, we’ve sought to be a leader in addressing hunger during this unprecedented time. Gov. Kim Reynolds gave me the honor of leading the Feeding Iowans Task Force, focused on identifying solutions to the many challenges the pandemic has presented around hunger and food insecurity.
The Feeding Iowans Task Force has focused on creatively leveraging the unique food production capabilities of our state to meet the needs of the food-insecure. We created programs like Pass the Pork and Beef Up Iowa, in which donated Iowa-raised pork and beef are processed in local facilities, and the resulting meat is donated to food banks and pantries across Iowa. We created a refrigeration grant program called Pack the Pantry to ensure our smaller food pantries have the cold storage capacity to accept these types of meat donations, as well as eggs and dairy products.
Gov. Reynolds has dedicated federal CARES Act funds to purchase shelf-stable food by the truckload, which is then packaged by volunteers and Americorps workers. We have scaled and expanded the Double Up Food Bucks program, which provides matching dollars allowing SNAP recipients to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at local farmers markets and grocery stores. We’ve coordinated closely with the Iowa Food Bank Association and provided critical grant funding to support the efforts to acquire food for those in need.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ve worked to raise the profile of the issues surrounding food insecurity—to let Iowans know that help is available, to connect them to those resources, and to eliminate any stigma associated with seeking assistance. That’s where Business Publications Corporation comes in. Through its Iowa Stops Hunger initiative, BPC has been a key partner in highlighting the challenges we face, providing a forum to discuss solutions, and shining a spotlight on the issue of hunger in our state.
With your help, “Iowa Stops Hunger” can be more than a name of an initiative—it can be a reality.