Hunger Action Month is Underway
The month of September is Hunger Action Month, and Iowans are responding with a number of exciting initiatives, among them:
- Panera Bread of Iowa hosted a Hunger Action Day Fundraiser on September 4th, donating 10% of customer purchases to local Iowa Food Banks.
- Hy-Vee stores kicked off the 12th Annual Hy-Vee Colossal Cookie Sale on September 7th. Running through September 22nd, Hy-Vee will donate a penny to the DMARC Food Pantry Network for every cookie purchased at stores in Central Iowa. This money adds up: since the Cookie Sale began in 2003, Hy-Vee stores have sold over 8.5 million cookies and have donated more than $85,000 in food products to DMARC's network of neighborhood pantries in greater Des Moines.
- The Great American Milk Drive is coming to the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market on September 27th to raise awareness and support for Iowa’s food banks and food pantries. In the five months since the Great American Milk Drive began, more than 4200 gallons of milk have been donated.
- The Food Bank of Iowa is launching a community dialogue series focusing on hunger in North-Central Iowa. At each dialogue, the Food Bank of Iowa and their current local partners, community leaders and general public will come together to spread awareness about food insecurity to community leaders and members who may be in a position to help reduce it. Goals include fact-finding and fostering networking between relevant organizations, matching local needs to Food Bank programming and determining whether new Food Bank programs are needed to match local needs. Dialogues are currently scheduled in Buena Vista, Spencer and Estherville.
- The Food Bank of Iowa has released a downloadable calendar with additional ideas for celebrating Hunger Action Month.
Community Comes Together on Sweet Corn Project
A community-wide effort to provide families with access to fresh sweet corn has emerged in the town of Ossian providing clients of the Greater Area Pantry with 70 bags of donated sweet corn every week.
The effort began as a spontaneous act of generosity by Doug and Mary Lou Egeland, who decided to donate sweet corn from two-and-a-half acres of their land. When Doug ordered the sweet corn seed from Pat Tekippe at Farmers Union Coop, the coop and DuPont Pioneer agreed to donate the seed. Doug’s neighbor, Al Schmidt donated the fertilizer. Many community groups have volunteered labor to pick the sweet corn, including groups from Boy Scouts, Zion Lutheran Church, Calmar Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church in Decorah and the Calmar & Ossian Co 4-H club. South Winneshiek Elementary school now plans to create an educational day at the sweet corn field for its students.
Extra sweet corn beyond what Greater Area Pantry clients need is taken to market, with the proceeds donated to support the work of the pantry.
Ms. Joanne Roney with the Greater Area Pantry, observes that this project was only possible due to the broad support among the community. Picking 800-850 ears of corn each week for the pantry is a source of community pride, and plans are underway to do it again next year.
For more information about the Greater Area Pantry and their sweet corn project, contact Ms. Joanne Roney at email@example.com or 563-419-6024.
Photo Credit: Volunteers picking sweet corn for Greater Area Pantry