Reynolds announces $5 million in awards to Iowa food banks

Food banks in Iowa City, Ottumwa, Waterloo, and Davenport will receive funds to upgrade their facilities
It's an effort to address the growing issue of hunger in Iowa.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 2:10 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa - Despite low unemployment and inflation creeping slowly down, demand at Iowa food banks is skyrocketing. 36 percent of Iowans aren’t making enough to make ends meet, and the demand at the Food Bank of Iowa is up 75 percent since 2022. Governor Kim Reynolds announced $5 million in awards to combat food insecurity Thursday. The grants will be used to upgrade infrastructure at four food banks across the state. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Food Bank of Iowa received $560,207 for their Ottumwa warehouse to increase ADA accessibility and improve outreach. Some funding will also be used for a “major capital project” at their Des Moines location.

Annette Hacker with the Food Bank of Iowa said, “We are very pleased to receive this support, and grateful to be selected for the grant funding.”

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo is receiving $2,000,000 to make upgrades to meet growing demand. The governor’s office says the food bank will use the money by, “adding storage racking, expanding the cooler and freezer section, updating and certifying the repacking area, and revamping the volunteer space.”

In Davenport, the River Bend Food Bank will reconfigure their warehouse to make safety improvements, distribute more food, and increase efficiency. They received $607,342 from the grant.

The Table to Table food distribution network will receive $1,832,451 in order to move their operations to a new facility in Iowa City.

“With this investment, these networks will be able to update and modernize their facilities, provide more access to fresh foods, and serve Iowans for many years to come,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Food insecurity doesn’t exist in a vacuum and requires a realistic approach to interrupt the cycle before Iowans become food insecure.”

In 2022, many Iowans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be called food stamps, saw extra benefits they had during the pandemic taken away early after Governor Reynolds ended the coronavirus disaster proclamation. The money for those increased benefits came from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Nonprofits, including food banks, could see millions of dollars in aid from the federal government taken away if lawmakers eliminate the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. The Commission is recommended for elimination by a committee overseeing Reynolds’ government realignment bill.