She says in 2016 when she first arrived, they were serving about 800,000 pounds of food each month and this June they had just short of two million pounds served. The organization serves 55 counties in the state.
Book says the demand looks to continue in July as the extra $600 in federal unemployment comes to an end. She says those who have had extra unemployment will see those dollars go away and at a time when kids continue to be home from school and away from free meals.
“And children are home from college as well and seniors are still shut-in, and we are seeing a bigger demand on our local school pantries and our food pantries,” Book says. Book says they expect things to be challenging as the economies of the state and country continue working out of the pandemic. She says their parent organization Feeding America is telling them to prepare for an increased need two-and-a-half times what they normally would do and through December of 2021 as the economy recovers very slowly.
Book encourages anyone who is struggling to call. “If people need help, this is the time to get help,” according to Book. “Don’t wait until you are down to your very last dollar and can’t pay your rent. If you need help — go to our website to find a food pantry nearest you. And our website is www.foodbankiowa.org.” Book says those who are interested in donating can also go to the websites. She says the increased demand for food has put more demand on their vehicles and everything else involved in getting the food out.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)