Decline in donations is hurting local food bank - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Decline in donations is hurting local food bank

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) --  A distribution hub for local food pantries is seeing an increase in demand and decline in donations. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank serves 16 counties in northeast Iowa.

More than 35,000 northeast Iowa residents, half of whom are children, receive food each year from the north east Iowa food bank.

During the recent floods and tornado this food bank distributed more than 300,000 pounds of food and the need continues to grow. On an average day at the food bank, supplies come in just as fast as they go out, but with the recent downturn in the economy more food is going out.

"In the month of September just to our food pantries we've distributed about 47,000 pounds of food and in the month of October it was nearly double that," Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Barbara Prather said.

This high demand wouldn't be a problem for the food bank except donations have also fallen off. Officials blame the most recent disasters and tighter budgets.

"A year ago through the first four months of this year I think we brought in about 1.6 million pounds of food and now today it's about 1.4 million," Prather said.

To help those in need schools in and around the Cedar Valley are working together to collect as much food as possible. It's part of the student food drive initiative.

"To be able to give back directly even if you bring like two cans of soup you saved some family from starvation. It's that kind of mind set that really motivates us the kids at East High and I think that's why we have so much support from the community," East High Student Body President, Azline Nelson said.

"People are having a hard time making ends meet. They maybe working but their dollars aren't going as far as they used to go and from what were seeing and predicting things aren't going to get any better," Prather said.

Online reporter: John Wilmer

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