DES MOINES, Iowa -- After the holidays the number of volunteers at homeless shelters and food banks starts to dwindle. Many tend to forget those homeless shelters, and organizations like the Food Bank of Iowa still appreciate their time and donations.
In 2019, the Food Bank of Iowa set a new record by distributing more than 17 million pounds of food to those in need. This led to a 30% increase in food distribution with 4.6 million pounds of food going to Polk County. However, they say it's no time to celebrate when there's more work to be done.
According to a study done by Feeding America, there are over 300,000 Iowans who go hungry every day, one in seven of those are children.
Feeding America also stated that kids who don't get enough to eat, especially in those first three years, are more likely to face a higher risk of health conditions such as anemia and asthma and are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.
That is why the CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa, Michelle Book, said if you feed a kid adequately today, they become a great citizen for the state of Iowa tomorrow.
“What we find is that by supporting kids today, so they can be better in school, better behaved, they can learn better, have better test scores,” Book said. “We know that in the future they'll be important members of their community. And by virtue of that makes their place a better place to live.”
Book also said it’s important that Iowans have empathy and realize food insecurity can happen to anyone. She was reminded of this recently when she met a woman whose world was changed by cancer.
“She lost all of her savings, when she can no longer work with the expenses that she incurred with cancer. Where she was not a year ago, she's food-insecure today. So many of us are just one flat tire away from being food insecure,” Book said.
You can learn more about how to donate or volunteer at the Food Bank of Iowa here.