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Hunger in Iowa Is On the Rise According to Feeding America Study



New data from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap shows that the number of Iowans facing food insecurity is rising as more than 344,000 Iowans face hunger. That means 10.8% of Iowans are facing hunger.

 

The new data shows 1 in 9 adults in Iowa are experiencing food insecurity, and that number was previously 1 in 13 adults. Likewise, 1 in 6 children are experiencing food insecurity, and that number was previously 1 in 11 children.

 

“Supermarket prices are 25% higher now than they were four years ago, outpacing inflation which has increased 19% over the same period. We know this is one factor driving the historic need we’ve all been seeing,” said Jacob Wanderscheid, Food Bank of Siouxland’s Executive Director. “More working Iowans turn to our partner nonprofits and food pantries, and these are people who never had to utilize these services before.”

 

In a 2023 Gallup poll, the United States ranked above the other G7 countries in the proportion of residents struggling to afford food with one in four Americans struggling to afford food at times. Some of the reasons for record-high food costs include supply issues, climate change including droughts, higher labor costs and shifting customer demands post-pandemic.

 

The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) — and its six member food banks serving Iowa —are rising to meet the increased need. Each IFBA member food bank works to form robust partnerships with local growers and stores to rescue perfectly good packaged and uncooked food, including produce and non-perishable items, that are safe to eat.

 

As IFBA food banks collaborate together to get food to those in need through partner nonprofits and food pantries, each food bank is also facing challenges. The post-pandemic volunteer decline is hitting the food banks even as the need for help is greater.

 

“Our food banks’ partnerships with local stores and growers are more important than ever before as we face the increased need to help those Iowans experiencing food insecurity,” said Linda Gorkow, executive director, Iowa Food Bank Association. “We are also leaning on donors and volunteers to help us meet this rising need. Our six food banks serving Iowans offer volunteers flexible opportunities that align with their busy schedules. Everyone has multiple demands on their time and resources, so we recognize and value the time and resources our volunteers and donors give to help feed those in need.”

 

Events such as the recent Stamp Out Hunger event, in which mail couriers and volunteers gathered non-perishable food items left at mail boxes, rally community support to help those facing food insecurity.

 

The Food Bank of Siouxland was able to collect 10,300 lbs. of food from around Sioux City, equating to nearly 15,500 meals. Over 70 volunteers came to the Food Bank to assist in sorting and boxing the donations.

 

“The Iowa Food Bank Association is glad to have seen that turnout at last Saturday’s Stamp Out Hunger event,” said Gorkow. “It’s amazing to see Iowans helping their fellow Iowans in this way. We’re especially grateful as the need in Iowa is great.”

 

To learn more about volunteering at or donating to your local food bank, please contact your local food bank (Food Bank of Iowa, Food Bank for the Heartland, Food Bank of Siouxland, HACAP, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, or River Bend Food Bank) or visit iowafba.org

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