The heat, humidity, and mosquitoes of summer are behind us and most of fall is a wrap. We are coming into my favorite season of the year — the holiday season. You are probably planning your family Thanksgiving dinner and deciding whether to serve green bean casserole or sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

As you enjoy a sumptuous feast, your family, like mine, may go around the table sharing that for which they are most grateful. Here at Food Bank of Iowa, I have many reasons to be thankful this year.

I am thankful to our more than 310 wonderful food donors who provided 8,198,623 pounds of fresh produce, pasta, milk, eggs, pork, and more — great sources of healthy nutrition for folks who can only afford a diet high in carbohydrates and calories.

I am thankful for nearly 8,000 incredible volunteers who worked over 21,000 hours (sometimes performing the unglamorous task of sorting onions) to help fulfill our shared mission of a hunger free Iowa.

I am thankful for warehouse, cold storage, transportation experts, and other industry specialists who pitch in when we ask for help.

I am thankful for a visionary and supportive board of directors and many strategic committee members who give generously of their time, wisdom, and resources to make certain Food Bank of Iowa is able to help 175,000 Iowans struggling with food insecurity.

I am thankful for the leadership at 625 partner agencies across our 55-county service area who receive nutritious food from us and distribute it quickly to their neighbors in need. Pantries, homeless shelters, halfway houses, day cares, after school programs, congregate meal programs, etc.

I am thankful to 100 school administrators and their counselors and nurses who allow us to place food pantries in their nook and cranny spaces and make it possible to serve thousands of families so their children can grow, learn, and thrive.

I am thankful for the volunteers and donors who support the BackPack Program sending 5,367 bags of food home each Friday with children who don’t know if they will otherwise have weekend meals.

I am thankful for the efforts of this team of tenacious and passionate hunger fighters — Food Bank of Iowa employees, partner agencies and school leadership, community partners, volunteers and generous donors. WE are the team.

Together, WE provided 15.5 million pounds of food to our friends and neighbors in need. WE are working together — pulling in one common direction and accomplishing more than we ever could alone. WE do make a difference in lives of hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

I am abundantly grateful for you. Because of your generous support, neighbors struggling with hunger will be able to share a nutritious holiday meal with their families. With your help, perhaps they will be able to ponder serving green beans AND sweet potatoes. Why not both?

Thanks for being on the team. I wish you a happy holiday season.


Michelle Book

Chief Executive Officer

Food Bank of Iowa