$500,000 grant from The Wellmark Foundation completes volunteer center renovation

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 5, 2018) — The Wellmark Foundation announced today a $500,000 grant to the Food Bank of Iowa. This grant will complete the renovation of the volunteer center. The Wellmark Foundation Volunteer Center will provide a safe, comfortable environment for adults and children as young as 10 to engage in projects supporting Food Bank of Iowa’s mission.

“The Wellmark Foundation’s generous contribution will help ensure that every Food Bank of Iowa volunteer has a safe, comfortable, and productive experience,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “The volunteer room is critical to our operation, as volunteers are key to moving hundreds of tons of food items into our warehouse inventory quickly, making certain nutrition reaches food insecure Iowans when its needed most.”

Food insecurity affects 1 in 8 Iowans, leaving them unsure where or when their next meal will be. In addition, 1 in 5 children in Iowa do not have enough food to eat. Food insecurity can impact an individual’s ability to learn, can lead to poor growth, poor lifelong eating habits and increased obesity rates.

“Living a healthy and productive lifestyle starts with proper nutrition, and the Food Bank of Iowa is making that possible,” said Becky Wampler Bland, executive director of The Wellmark Foundation. “Together, The Wellmark Foundation and the Food Bank of Iowa are working toward a hunger-free Iowa by providing food to children, families and seniors so they can lead full, active lives. Because of the shared vision of our two organizations, the Foundation is proud to provide this grant and we look forward to seeing the impact it has on Iowans for generations to come.”

Key features of the renovation included the installation of new, energy efficient LED lighting, a new climate-control system, modern fire suppression systems, and remediation of mold and asbestos. Volunteers now enter Food Bank of Iowa through a dedicated entrance, with convenient restroom and water fountain access, plus lockers to store personal items. After entering the Wellmark Foundation Volunteer Center, volunteers participate in a wide variety of projects, from sorting donated food items to packaging fresh produce to packing family meal kits.

Food drive nets more than 88,000 meals for Food Bank of Iowa

In conjunction with the announcement of the $500,000 grant, The Wellmark Foundation conducted a food and monetary drive at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Des Moines office. Wellmark employees were encouraged to bring in items the Food Bank of Iowa most needed or participate in The Wellmark Foundation’s BluesCare GivingSM program by providing a monetary donation that is matched by the Foundation.

“Wellmark employees are committed to helping those in the communities where we live and work,” said Wampler Bland. “We are grateful our employees rallied to provide more than 88,000 meals to combat food insecurity in Iowa.”

In addition to participating in the food drive, more than 40 Wellmark employees attended the unveiling to deliver the donations and be the first to work in the new Wellmark Foundation Volunteer Center.


Food Bank of Iowa is a private, not-for-profit organization committed to its mission of providing food to Iowa children, families and seniors to lead full and active lives, strengthening the communities where they live. Food Bank of Iowa distributes donated food and grocery products through Iowa’s largest network of emergency food providers, consisting of about 500 partner agencies in 55 counties. Last year, Food Bank of Iowa distributed 11,059,646 meals through its network of partners and direct service programs. Food Bank of Iowa operates distribution centers in Des Moines and Ottumwa. To learn more, visit www.foodbankiowa.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/foodbankiowa.

About The Wellmark Foundation
The Wellmark Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation created by Wellmark, Inc., doing business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Please visit The Wellmark Foundation’s Web site at wellmark.com/foundation to learn more about our grant program, as well as a list of previous grant recipients. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and The Wellmark Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.