Last month, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa offered to provide support for a facilitated conversation between Food Bank of Iowa and Des Moines Area Religious Council regarding emergency food assistance efforts in Polk County. Both FBOI and DMARC have agreed to participate and are eager to work toward a resolution.

Facilitated discussions to be held in February

We are pleased that Scott Raecker, executive director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, and Jordan Vernoy, with See What I Mean consulting, will facilitate discussions in February. Raecker is a nationally renowned facilitator with extensive experience seeking aligned outcomes and strategies among diverse stakeholders and leaders. His professional passion for civility has led to his work with The Ray Center in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. Vernoy brings more than 15 years of professional experience working in both direct service and consulting roles within food systems in Iowa and at a national level. In his current position at See What I Mean, Vernoy specializes in implementing deep consultation practices and engaging and innovative meeting design and facilitation to help people and groups be powerful forces for good.  

United Way of Central Iowa and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines are committed to doing what we can to ensure those in need of food in our community have access. As our region seeks a sustainable food system that meets the needs of all, we recognize solutions are found when we are united in our work and our intentions. In conversations with Des Moines Area Religious Council and Food Bank of Iowa leadership, identifying professional facilitators and providing funding to lead collaborative and solutions-focused conversations between the organizations was identified as a priority,” says Mary Sellers, United Way president.

“The Community Foundation and United Way recognize the heightened levels of food insecurity and the desperate community need for a collaborative food network. Offering financial support for these crucial conversations to move our community forward is a role the Community Foundation and United Way are more than happy to play. It is with great hope we look forward to positive outcomes from the facilitation so that we can collaboratively address food insecurity and our community can thrive,” shared Kristi Knous, Community Foundation president. 

To allow for candid and open discussion between the organizations and prepare for the best possible outcome, we will hold any updates until the convening process is completed. We will jointly share outcomes at that time. All parties have agreed these solutions-focused convenings are a top priority as we seek to address food insecurity through a community-wide, collaborative network.

In the meantime, both organizations continue to keep pantry shelves stocked and ensure our neighbors facing food insecurity are receiving the assistance they need.