Hello, this is Michelle Book at Food Bank of Iowa. Thank you for continuing to follow my weekly conversation with Food Bank of Iowa supporters.

To say the passionate hunger-fighting team at Food Bank of Iowa has been busy during the last six weeks is a vast understatement. Employees, volunteers, and supporters  — all part of the Food Bank of Iowa team — are all pulling together and hustling to serve an ever-growing population of neighbors in need, while we remain flexible in a quickly changing environment.

We have been working really hard at the food bank and are relieved to know that the National Guard will now join the effort. I am grateful to these men and women. If you see a transport on your city streets in the upcoming weeks, it’s likely they are carrying food to help your neighbors. Please give them a friendly wave.

This week, we wanted to look at some of the amazing things we have accomplished together since Friday, March the 13th when our world changed drastically.

Since March 13th, we have distributed almost 1,000 tons of nourishment across 30,000 square miles of Iowa. Due to additional stress on our food pantry partners, we have increased our own mobile pantry distributions by 20%. School pantry orders have increased by 47% compared to the same time last year. Project Zúme, a church-based group, has distributed nearly 70,000 meals to central Iowans in need via church parking lot drive-throughs and deliveries to shut-ins.

Volunteers have made 328 masks for use by our drivers, onsite volunteers, and agency pantry volunteers. You donated and created 2,000 T-shirt totes that we can fill with food to safely hand food to your neighbors. One volunteer changed his work schedule so he could volunteer with us during the days and another volunteer is with us nearly full time helping with data entry.

As I look back over the last six weeks, I do so with gratitude. I can only say thank you. We could not do any of this without you. I will check in periodically in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you need help get help. If you can help please go to our website at www.foodbankiowa.org to donate and sign up to volunteer.

Be well, my friends.