Food Bank of Iowa announced a transformational gift from the Nationwide Foundation on Thursday afternoon. The gift of $1.5 million will help Food Bank of Iowa to overhaul its distribution center in Des Moines, ultimately allowing the organization to distribute twice as much food as is currently possible.

“We are thrilled that the Nationwide Foundation is investing in Food Bank of Iowa in such a phenomenal way,” said Food Bank of Iowa President & CEO Michelle Book. “They recognize that the number of Iowans struggling with hunger is great, and this gift is a vote of confidence in our team’s ability to tackle the problem.”

This major gift is the latest in a long series of philanthropic and volunteer contributions from Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation. Groups of Nationwide associates regularly volunteer at Food Bank of Iowa, sorting donated food, packaging fresh produce and planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables at giving gardens throughout central Iowa. Nationwide has also provided funding for Food Bank of Iowa events and programs, and for many years, its associates have been engaged in the BackPack ProgramTM, which provides sacks of nutritionally balanced, kid-friendly food to students in need each Friday during the school year.

“It is a foundational quality of Nationwide and its associates to lend a helping hand to people when they need it most, and we are deeply committed to communities where we work and live” said Jeff Rommel, senior vice president at Nationwide. “We’re glad to help Food Bank of Iowa provide such critical services.”

The $1.5 million gift is dedicated to Food Bank of Iowa’s facility renovation project, which will begin later this spring. The project will completely overhaul the Food Bank’s distribution center, greatly expanding refrigerated and frozen space, maximizing dry goods storage space and updating many electrical and mechanical systems. The overhaul will allow Food Bank of Iowa to distribute twice as much food as the current facility layout allows, including a much higher proportion of more nutritious refrigerated and frozen foods.

Food Bank of Iowa moved to its current facility in 1999 and has steadily increased food distribution to more than 1 million pounds per month. To fully serve Iowans in need within its service area, Food Bank of Iowa has set a goal to distribute more than 2 million pounds of food per month.