Donation will provide up to 120,000 meals for children in need across Iowa.

In a state known for agriculture, hunger seems impossible. Food insecurity is real and leads to serious long-lasting harm—especially for children who don’t have enough to eat. Variety — the Children’s Charity, in partnership with Food Bank of Iowa, is working to make a difference for children by granting $30,000 to Food Bank of Iowa toward the BackPack Program and school pantries.

Food insecurity—insufficient or unreliable access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy, active life— interrupts lives, livelihoods and learning. And the effects are especially harsh for children. When children don’t have enough to eat or don’t have access to enough nutrients, it can have a serious impact on their health, education and future potential.

Studies have shown when students are hungry, they can’t perform as well academically. According to a report from Feeding America, this can result in lower test scores, lower reading levels and increased behavior issues—among other concerns.

“Regular access to nutritious food is critical for children in our Iowa schools,” said Michelle Book, CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “That’s why we’re so proud to have partners like Variety — the Children’s Charity who help us reach more Iowa  children.”

As a convenient, comfortable and familiar place for students in need, school pantries and the BackPack Program are essential. The food provided is completely free, and often feeds more than just the student who receives it. Younger siblings and other family members also benefit from school pantries.

Variety — the Children’s Charity’s grant will help fight food insecurity by providing regular access to nutritious food to students and families.

“Variety is pleased to support Food Bank of Iowa’s efforts in providing healthy, nutritious food for children and families throughout the state,” said Sheri McMichael, executive director of Variety – the Children’s Charity. “By granting funds to the BackPack Program and school pantries throughout Iowa, we can help ensure more children have enough to eat and are better equipped to reach their full potential.”

Any organization or individual interested in also sponsoring a school pantry can contact Food Bank of Iowa to find opportunities in their area. Find volunteer, donation and advocacy information at


About Food Bank of Iowa

In the 2020 fiscal year alone, Food Bank of Iowa provided more than 19 million pounds of nutritious food to help your neighbors in need.

Leveraging bulk purchasing power, key retail food rescue relations and the Emergency Food Assistance Program from the USDA, Food Bank of Iowa sources free and reduced-cost food for Iowans in need. The food bank keeps the food safe and delivers it to 630 partners—including community, church and school pantries, backpack schools, senior meal sites, veteran homes, homeless shelters and rehab sites—who then distribute food to children, seniors, veterans and hard-working Iowans. Food Bank of Iowa serves 55 counties, covering big cities and small towns across 30,000 square miles.

To learn more, visit or find us on Facebook at

About Variety — the Children’s Charity

Variety – the Children’s Charity is dedicated to improving the lives of children who are underprivileged, at-risk, critically ill or living with special needs. Funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children throughout Iowa. For more information on how you can be a part of Variety’s work, please visit