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Paper Plates with Hunger Messages Headed to Iowa Statehouse

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WATERLOO, Iowa - 400,000 Iowans go hungry each night including children. Area food banks see that number rising due to a tough economy. Now messages on paper plates could give more money and resources families in need of food.

A message reads, "Thank you for pasta and peas."

It's a simple message written on a paper plate from a child who would go hungry if it weren't for a local food bank. Families and food pantry staff go to food banks to get the essential ingredients. It wouldn't be possible without donations, but it isn't keeping up with demand.

"We can't meet the need with only private donations. We need the state's support to bridge the gap," said Iowa Food Bank Association State Director Cory Berkenes.

That's why the Iowa Food Bank Association and eight state food banks will lobby to lawmakers and the governor to match private donations with state dollars to help support this growing demand.

"It's not just those on low-income. It's those who have lost jobs, they've had a fire, a serious accident. They've worked all their lives and they can't afford it now. Usually it's the food that comes last," said Berkenes.

So those who need help wrote their stories, or a brief message, explaining why food banks need those extra dollars. They say state funding will help fill the plates of families starving to stay alive.
Food advocates will present more than a thousand paper plates with messages to Senate leaders and the governor on Wednesday.