A blackberry farmer from Indiana has made it to central Iowa in his walk across the United States in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Feeding America, a non-profit organization representing 200 food banks nationwide.

Brian Christner visited the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines on Tuesday, as the agency struggles to keep up with an unprecedented demand for food.

“It’s a tough time right now, no doubt, especially the summertime,” Christner says. “This is when donations go down to food banks and kids no longer are getting those meals from schools. The solution is, we all need to get together and help out those that are doing the heavy lifting.”

Christner is planning to walk 48-hundred miles across the U-S. The hike began February 18th in Delaware and will end at Point Reyes National Seashore State Park in California in November. He says the best way for Iowans to help other Iowans who are food insecure is with their money and their time.

“One dollar to Feeding America represents ten meals. Since they are such a large organization, they’re able to purchase things in quantity,” Christner says. “The other way is volunteering, going in and helping at a food bank. That really helps keep the costs down and then they’re able to purchase more food.”

Christner has already made stops at the River Bend Food Bank in Davenport and at the Northern Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, and in another ten days or so, he’ll reach the Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha/Council Bluffs.

“I am so incredibly amazed at the people that work at the pantries,” Christner says. “These people are angels that are out there helping and giving. It’s really a beautiful thing. I feel blessed to be able to meet these people as I move along in my journey.”

You can follow his hike at Blackberry Brian on Facebook or via the website: https://www.hikingamerica.com/blackberry-brian/

Radio Iowa