Michelle Book, CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa, says she’s losing hope for an economic turnaround and plans on the situation not improving until perhaps early in 2022. “We were all hopeful that we would see another stimulus check and that we would see additional unemployment support between now and the election and it just doesn’t look like that’s going to be reality,” Book says. “Families continue to be pinched. Unemployment remains at all-time highs.”
Demand for food in Iowa was high prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s only continued to rise. “Food insecurity is double today from what it was March 1st, triple for households that have children,” Book says. “So, the need continues to be strong. We are forecasting that we’ll have an extended food insecurity issue at least through December of 2021.”
September is being observed as Hunger Action Month nationwide and she’s urging Iowans to get involved. “We’re asking the public to take action,” Book says. “We have more awareness items showing up on our social media. We’ve been talking to a lot of partners. We really believe that acting together, all of us, we can end hunger one helping at at time.”
About 175,000 Iowans struggle with hunger in the 55 counties the Des Moines-based Food Bank of Iowa serves. It moves 1.2 million pounds of food -per month- through a distribution center, to 625 partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and schools.
Donations can be made online at foodbankiowa.org
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story.)