The resource is set to continue through February, with possibilities for extension.
This month, Food Bank of Iowa began receiving their fifth round of food boxes through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. Compared to four previous rounds, the Food Bank is receiving twice as many in this phase of the critical government program. The boxes include fresh dairy products, produce and meat to provide nutrition for Iowans with empty cupboards.
With more Iowa neighbors struggling to make ends meet, the boxes provide an essential resource for many Iowans in need. The need for food assistance is expected to continue to increase through 2024 due to the recession created by COVID-19. In addition, this is a critical time of year for Iowans living on fixed incomes and those who have lost precious work hours. As temperatures drop, heating bills climb and budgets tighten.
In order to make certain rural food pantry partners receive enough food to serve their clients, Food Bank of Iowa doubled the number of rural delivery routes this winter compared to 2020. The increased number of Farmers to Families boxes will be delivered to school, church and community food pantries, meal sites, veterans programs, homeless shelters, rehab sites and mobile food distributions across 55 counties.
USDA food box distributions are scheduled for the month of February, but could be extended. Iowans are encouraged to contact federal legislators to voice the need for continued support of this important, life-saving program.
“I am grateful to receive healthy protein, fresh fruit and high-quality vegetables via support from the USDA,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO at Food Bank of Iowa. “This program provides a much-needed boost for U.S. farmers while helping our neighbors in need. It’s a double win—one which I hope the government will extend into the spring.”
The economic impact of COVID-19 has left more children, seniors, families and veterans in need of help. Hunger-fighting organizations like Food Bank of Iowa are under stress due to the on-going effects of the pandemic. The USDA Farmer to Family Food Box program is easing the pressure, but distribution could end in just two weeks.
To continue feeding Iowans in need, community support is more necessary than ever before. Food Bank of Iowa is calling on neighbors to help advocate for government support. Any organization or individual interested in joining the fight for a hunger-free Iowa can find volunteer, donation and advocacy information at FoodBankIowa.org.