The latest data from Iowa Workforce Development shows more than 9,400 Iowa workers filed a new claim for unemployment benefits last week.
Food Bank of Iowa president and CEO Michelle Book says food pantries and feeding programs are serving far more Iowans this year compared to last.
“I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year,” Book says. “…Food insecurity has doubled since March of 2020, tripled for households with children.”
There are more than a thousand food pantries in Iowa, serving all of Iowa’s 99 counties.
“There are six Feeding America food banks that source government, free and reduced-cost food,” Book says. “We keep it safe….Our pantry volunteers are working hard and smart to make sure that no person in their community is hungry.”
This spring, the governor approved spending $6 million in federal pandemic relief money to help food pantries buy more food and, for some, to buy more refrigeration units.
“A legion of churches under the banners of HelpDSM and Project Zume has stepped up and offered us their facilities, their volunteers, and their organizational skills,” she says, “to help us distribute more food in metro Des Moines and across the entire state.”
Project Zume volunteers are making home deliveries in nine central Iowa counties to frail elderly and other Iowans who cannot make the trip to a food pantry. Food Bank of Iowa has more information about food pantries and feeding programs throughout the state.
Many school districts operate feeding programs as well.