Around 500 state employees used their lunch hour today  to help raise money for the Food Bank of Iowa. The event on the State Capitol grounds in Des Moines included raffles and a dunk tank – offering workers a chance to sink directors of several agencies.

Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin is chair of this year’s State Employee Food Drive which runs through June 18. Baldwin says last year’s drive was great success. “Off the top of my head, I don’t recall, but it was in the hundreds-of-thousands of pounds (of food) and somewhere around $50,000 to $80,000 of actual money. We filled many trailers with food,” Baldwin said.

Over the next week-and-a-half, state employees will hold various fundraisers in their offices. Baldwin says some agencies come up with creative ideas. “I know the Department of Agriculture has created an ugly desk ornament. It mysteriously appears on your desk and then you have to pay a couple dollars to make it go away,” Baldwin said.

Other agencies allow employees to donate a few dollars to wear jeans to work. The Food Bank of Iowa serves 285 agencies, such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters, in 42 Iowa counties.