April 21, 2020 — As thousands of Iowans are unemployed and relying on food pantries to help feed their families during this worldwide pandemic, food banks are stretched to meet the needs of the hungry with unprecedented requests.  Local Rotarians heard the call, applied for, and received a Disaster Response Grant from the Rotary International Foundation to help.  The local clubs have asked that the District present a check to the Iowa Food Bank Association in the amount of $24,000 for immediate distribution.

“In times like this, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of an organization that has, since its inception, had a mission of service above self, and a heart to serve those in need in our communities.”  shared Michelle Bell, Rotary District 5970 Governor 2019-2020 and a member of Rotary Club of Linn County.  “We have partnered with Linda and her organization before and know that she will allocate funds quickly to the local communities, per our Rotary Clubs, wishes to support the immediate needs. $7500 of the funding is designated to HACAP serving Linn and surrounding counties. Together we can help fight hunger.”

The Rotary Foundation funding comes from previous gifts by Rotarians and other interested citizens all over the world. “To date, we are one of 40 Districts, out of 535, worldwide to receive this grant.” says Bell. “The Iowa Rotary District 5970 covers essentially the North half of Iowa, in which we have 51 clubs including nine in Linn County.”  The District allowed those clubs to apply for $1000 each (of the total grant) to support COVID-19 needs in their communities.  To date, 24 of those clubs have elected to send their funding to the Iowa Food Banks to support their fellow Iowans.  

“During these unprecedented times, the Food Banks serving Iowans have been notably affected with an increased need for food by more Iowans along with many challenges. The generosity of Rotarians across the state are deeply appreciated to help nourish hungry Iowans.” shared Linda Gorkow, of Iowa Food Bank Association.

The economic hardships Iowans are facing due to COVID-19 are creating challenges for the food banks with the supply as well as demand. Food banks and their partner agencies have been ordering more than double the amount of food compared to distribution numbers prior to the worldwide crisis.

“I am humbled and overjoyed by the Rotarian’s willingness to help the food banks and pantries serving food insecure Iowans. I send a heartfelt thank you to each local Rotarian. You have made a difference in the life of another Iowan.” adds Gorkow.

The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) is a collaboration of Feeding America food banks and affiliates that serve each of Iowa’s 99 counties. Together, the food banks serve over 1,000 non-profit organizations serving children, adults, veterans, and seniors. These organizations include food pantries, emergency meal sites, congregational meal sites, emergency shelters, and other sites that provide food to clients. As an association, the organization is coordinating efforts to alleviate hunger by supporting Feeding America food banks that serve Iowa. For more information visit, https://www.iowafba.org/

If you need assistance, find a food bank near you https://www.iowafba.org/partner-food-banks