The Food Bank of Iowa helped with feeding thousands of Iowans Thursday during its drive-thru event at its Des Moines distribution center. This was the first of its kind at the Food Bank and was held to address the need created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event had a steady stream of vehicles as volunteers, staff and 60 members of the Iowa National Guard assembled and loaded 50-pound bags of food including meat, vegetables and eggs into vehicles. Throughout the six-hour no-contact, no-cost event, the organization distributed more than 95,000 pounds of food and served 5,300 individuals.

“April 30 is a historic day for Food Bank of Iowa,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa.  “We have never staged a distribution of this size from our facility. The day long effort marshaled every resource at our disposal including staff, board directors and the Iowa National Guard.  We also could not have done this without Des Moines Police Department and Grand View University.”

To reduce the cost of distributing food during this time of high need, Food Bank of Iowa staff asked for donations of T-shirts, which volunteers sewed into tote bags. The T-shirt totes replaced the need for bags and boxes that the Food Bank would typically have to purchase for an event like this.

“I am grateful for the support we received over the past several weeks from the community,” said Book. “Financial contributions, face masks, donated T-shirts converted to food bags and devoted volunteers allowed us to make a 95,000-pound distribution to over 5,000 neighbors in need – the day before many rent payments were due.  This was a community effort which helped our neighbors.” 

Food Bank of Iowa is planning similar distributions in the future both in Des Moines and across the organization’s 55-county service area. The organization is seeking financial donations for future distributions. Anyone interested in helping provide food for Iowans in need can give directly to Food Bank of Iowa at their website, Each dollar donated can provide up to four meals for Iowans struggling with food insecurity.

Food Bank of Iowa provides over 1 million pounds of food each month to help food insecure Iowans in 55 counties. Through key relationships with corporations, the Department of Agriculture and Feeding America, Food Bank of Iowa sources free and reduced-cost nutritious food, including meat and produce. The Food Bank keeps the food safe and delivers it to more than 600 community partner agencies—including schools, pantries, shelters, daycares and halfway homes—who distribute the food to seniors, children, veterans and hard-working parents who need food assistance across the organization’s 30,000 square mile service area.

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