Iowans in need of help
These may very well be the darkest days of my lifetime.
COVID cases spiking, record unemployment and suicide, personal loss, isolation, and children not getting the full education they need to succeed.
In the midst of this uncertainty, many of us are hoping the familiar comforts of holiday tradition will deliver some modicum of normalcy and joy.
This year, many of us will put more energy into decorating the house, designing a family greeting card, shopping locally for thoughtful gifts and making our favorite foods — lots of comforting food. Many of us are already planning special holiday dinners — albeit for a smaller group this year than last.
Unfortunately, this is not reality for all of us.
The holidays will not bring cheer for everyone. Thousands of our friends, family members and neighbors have lost precious work hours or employment altogether. Or they are unable to work because children are not in school and day care is lacking. Once thriving entrepreneurs are struggling. Businesses are closing.
As a result, folks who have always cared for their loved ones are unable to provide for their families for the first time. They have never before faced the fear of scarcity and hunger — until now.
According to Feeding America and McKinsey Consulting, food insecurity has doubled since COVID, tripled for households with children. Food insecurity means not having the ability to get enough nutritious food to be healthy and to feel safe. It means the cupboards are often bare and the refrigerator is empty.
Not knowing where you will get your next meal is incredibly stressful any time of year. During the holiday season, it is especially harsh. While we will likely face more challenges ahead, there is hope.
Feeding America food banks supply more than 1,200 pantries across all 99 Iowa counties. There are pantries providing nutritious food near you located in churches, schools, community centers and human services organizations.
If you are struggling, please let our network help. Call 211 to find a pantry near you, visit our website FoodBankIowa.org, or call Food Bank of Iowa at 515-564-0330 to get help for your family now.
If you need help, please get help. If you can help, I ask you to consider joining the fight against hunger today.
What did your family not spend this year due to COVID? For the sake of safety, did you cancel travel plans, not go out to dine, forego personal care services such as manicures, massage or haircuts? It all adds up. Could you donate that amount to help another family and make a big difference in the lives of others?
On Dec. 1, Gov. Reynolds proclaimed December 2020 Hunger Free Holiday Month in the state of Iowa. No Iowan should go hungry any day, but especially not during the holidays.
Together, we can ensure a Hunger Free Holiday for every Iowan.
Greene County native Michelle Book, a 1979 graduate of Jefferson High School, is president and CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa.