Iowans – through community agencies, business groups, churches or other organizations – donated a lot of food, money and time to fight global hunger last year. Several hundred Iowans gathered in Des Moines Tuesday for the 2009 Iowa Hunger Summit, the kickoff event to the World Food Prize festivities.
Organizer Frank Swoboda helped calculate financial contributions made by Iowans from 2008 to 2009. He says the donations for anti-hunger efforts increased from $6.49 million to $8.72 million. Food donations, meanwhile, dropped from 17.2 million pounds between 2007-’08 to 15.6 million pounds between ’08-’09.
“The hours that Iowans dedicated as volunteers to fighting hunger went from 438,000 last year to 451,000 hours over the past year,” Swoboda said. While many social service agencies have struggled to raise money, Swoboda says the economic downturn has actually provided a boost to anti-hunger efforts. The numbers also include funding through state and local government programs.
“Part of the dollar total reflects money that came in through different public programs to ensure that there was a food security safety net for families affected by things like unemployment, loss of housing or other negative impacts of the economic slowdown,” Swoboda said.