8 Northwest Iowa Food Pantries Awarded Pack the Pantry Funds

September 04, 2020 10:16am

Cold Food Storage

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that 113 food pantries in 51 Iowa counties have been approved for grants through the Pack the Pantry program. The program helps food pantries expand their cold storage capacity and meet increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pack the Pantry is supported by $440,000 in CARES Act funding provided by Gov. Reynolds and is an initiative of the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig says food pantries are the first line of defense against hunger in Iowa, and lack of refrigeration can be a limiting factor to helping those who are battling food insecurity.  Naig says that the program can increase cold storage capacity and help get more Iowa-raised meat, produce, dairy and eggs on plates where it’s needed most.

Iowa food banks and pantries work under a “hub-and-spoke” model. The state has six major food banks that collect large quantities of food, which they distribute to more than 2,000 pantries in all 99 counties.

Through Pack the Pantry, the Iowa Egg Council and Iowa egg farmers will donate eggs to participating food pantries. The Iowa Egg Council and Iowa egg farmers donate 35,000 dozen eggs to the Food Bank of Iowa each month. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa egg farmers have increased their donation to 45,000 dozen eggs each month.

Linda Gorkow, Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, say by investing in pantry refrigeration, Iowa will be in a stronger place to respond to the ongoing food security challenge that has intensified because of COVID-19, she says they know that this investment will benefit food insecure Iowans in Iowa’s communities for many years to come.

Gov. Reynolds launched the Feeding Iowans Task Force to address food security-related issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force is led by Lt. Gov. Gregg. In addition to Pack the Pantry, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship administers other Feeding Iowans Task Force initiatives, including Pass the Pork, Beef Up Iowa, and a turkey food purchase program, all of which help connect Iowa farmers with food bank feeding programs. 

Eight northwest Iowa food pantries have been awarded funds through the Pack the Pantry Program, they include ATLAS of Lyon County in Rock Rapids, Community Food Pantry in Hawarden, Grand Avenue Community Outreach in Spencer, Morningside Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Sunnybrook Hope Center in Sioux City, UDMO, Inc. in Storm Lake, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc., Spencer and Primghar locations.  Awards to these agencies range from $930 to $10,000.