Hello, this is Michelle Book at Food Bank of Iowa. I must start by saying thank you. Born and raised in rural Iowa, I know Iowans stand together — especially during times of crisis. So, I can’t say I am surprised by the support we received this week from donors and volunteers. Showing up to help neighbors is exactly what Iowans do. What I can say is that I am grateful . . . Incredibly incredibly grateful.
Thank you, volunteers. You are showing up to safely pack food boxes and creating food distribution bags out of t-shirts at home. Thousands of T-shirts have been donated and we need more. Thank you, donors. Businesses are donating a portion of sales and many of you have launched virtual fundraising campaigns to help feed your neighbors. And then on Wednesday, you responded to KCCI TV and their request for financial assistance; your contributions far exceeded our hopes.
Thank you to our long term pantry partners, including DMARC, who have found a way to serve their communities effectively and safely. Thank you to our friends in the faith community leading the charge with Project Zume. Within days of the economic shut down, Project Zume had established assembly centers, distribution sites, and a process to deliver food to shut ins and the ill across Central Iowa. If you need food delivery within Central Iowa call 515-957-2900. The Project Zume model is now being replicated across our service area and in other states. Thank you to Al Perez, Greg and Ashley Baker who are leading that charge.
As people spend the remaining pennies from their last paycheck and burn through their tax refund and the savings, we are seeing the need for food assistance continue to increase. While the emergency funds received from the federal government must be stretched for housing, transportation, and other personal necessities, Food Bank of Iowa and our network of over 600 partner agencies are filling the food gap.
In recent days, scarcity has been an amazing common denominator for our society. Before COVID-19, one of seven Iowans knew the fear of living in poverty. Fear of scarcity . . . of not being able to provide for their family. Today, it’s safe to say that most of us better understand fear and scarcity. Even if you have the money to pay for it, it’s frustrating to not be able to procure eggs, Lysol, and especially toilet paper – the things you need to take proper care of your family. In addition, most of us have a friend or family member who is unemployed and scared. Scarcity has united all of us. My hope is that after the economy starts to cure for most of us that the memory of scarcity unites all of us far into the future.
Today, we are all in this together. As the economy begins to return to something more recognizable, COVID19 will still be present and many will continue to live in fear and scarcity as their part of the economy does not bounce back immediately. Please continue to give help if you are able. Please get help if you are in need. Food Bank of Iowa and your neighbors are here to help.
Be well my friends.