Des Moines, IA, October 2, 2018 – Food Bank of Iowa has received a $35,000 grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity to support the BackPack ProgramTM and School Pantry Program. The grant will help provide food to children in need across 55 Iowa counties.

In Iowa, 1 in 6 children struggles with food insecurity. Within Food Bank of Iowa’s service area, 56,350 children currently lack reliable access to all the food they need to thrive. Without adequate nutrition, children can struggle to grow, develop, and learn properly, and food insecurity can have a detrimental effect on behavior and school attendance. All of these effects can have lifelong impacts on these children, leading to greater health problems and struggles down the road.

Food Bank of Iowa’s childhood hunger programs are designed to get children the food they need, when they need it, to ensure that they grow up healthy and happy. Both of Food Bank of Iowa’s childhood hunger programs are funded entirely through Food Bank of Iowa, with no cost burden to schools or recipients.

“Support from Variety is essential to helping us provide the nutrition that Iowa’s children need,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “In order to ensure that any school can participate in the BackPack ProgramTM or the School Pantry Program, we provide these services at no charge. We are so grateful to Variety for helping us shoulder that burden and ensure that every Iowa child has the food they need to thrive.”

The BackPack ProgramTM provides a sack of child-friendly, nutritious food each Friday, allowing children to have food through the weekend. Currently, Food Bank of Iowa operates BackPack ProgramTM partnerships in nearly 140 schools.

The School Pantry Program provides a fully stocked, traditional food pantry inside a school setting. Students can shop for food for themselves and their families, even receiving nutritious snacks during the school day. Currently, Food Bank of Iowa operates school pantries in more than 60 schools.