With grocery store budgets tight in Iowa, local food nonprofits say they’re seeing record demand for their services.
Des Moines sets food aid record
- The Iowa Food Bank is one of the largest food providers in the region, breaking records by distributing nearly 2 million pounds of food in October, according to CEO Michelle Booker.
- On November 1, the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s food pantry network broke a single-day record in the network’s 46-year history, with 15 pantries in the network helping 1,530 people in Polk County.
- In October, DMARC assisted 19,385 people, a 63 percent increase over the previous year. Since May this year, the organization has served more than 15,000 people each month.
Why So Many Iowans Are Seeking Help With Food
Iowa’s growing food insecurity can largely be attributed to rising food prices and the rising cost of other basic needs, according to researchers at the Urban Institute’s Center for Health Policy.
A recently published report noted that the end of certain safety-net responses during the pandemic, such as rising unemployment or food stamp benefits, was also a factor in reducing Americans’ food budgets this year.
Local nonprofits working to meet the growing need are already feeling the financial strain. Food costs for Iowa food banks in 2022 are up 650% compared to last year, according to Booker.
Recent research from the Urban Institute shows that the number of U.S. adults reporting food insecurity will rise through 2022, following a decline in national demand last year.
- Last June, more than one in five adults, or 21.6 percent, reported that their household had been food insecure in the past 30 days. In comparison, one in six (15.3%) reported food insecurity in April 2021.
- According to Booker, in Iowa, one in seven working families cannot pay for basic needs.
What is food insecurity?
Federal health officials define individuals as food insecure because they do not have access to enough nutritious food to maintain overall health and well-being.
As of October, 274,608 people in Iowa were receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.
Francesca Block is a breaking news reporter for the Des Moines Register.Reach her at FBlock@registermedia.com or on Twitter@francescablock3.
Michaela Ramm is responsible for health care at Des Moines Register.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (319) 339-7354, or on Twitter @Michaela_Ramm.