Food banks are important

To the editor:

As director of the largest Webster County food pantry the Lord’s Cupboard, I would like to share with you the impact the Emergency Food Program legislation will have on our community specifically. Thirty-eight states do provide funding for their food programs. Iowa does not and is obviously behind in the issue.

In terms of numbers and percentages, it’s very clear. 2011 population statistics for Iowa is around 3 million with 408,000 living hungry or with a food shortage today. The legislation is proposing $2 million that would be set aside for the eight food banks serving the state. There are 99 counties in Iowa with 14 Food Bank agencies (groups privileged to receive help from the Food Bank of Iowa) in Webster County. The math equals $1,443 would impact the Lord’s Cupboard.

This money is going directly to the eight food banks to be spent on food, transporting and storage and something that is a personal goal of mine in the near future nutrition education programs. We as food bank agencies can then have more selection, opportunities and program assistance from them.

Is this good stewardship of our state funds/taxes? Absolutely. To put it in “grocery” perspective here’s what $1,443 would buy if you or I were purchasing. The Lord’s Cupboard serves an average of 250-400 households each month; with milk at $3-plus a gallon that is just around five weeks of milk at Fareway. A pound of ground turkey can be purchased at ALDI for $1.69 so that would be 854 pounds or two months worth of meat for our clients. We could purchase 2,091 loves of white bread at Hy-Vee. As an agency of the Food Bank of Iowa using U.S. Department of Agriculture purchasing, Feeding America program, etc., for the $1,443 this legislation will buy the Lord’s Cupboard 10,307 pounds of food. What an incredible way to stretch our tax dollars and as Sen. Daryl Beall said “it’s the right thing to do”.

Food, stretching your grocery dollar and the importance of family meals is my passion. I am always excited to talk about it.

You can find us at: 127 N. 10th St (basement of First United Methodist office building), telephone: 576-7586; email:, Tuesday 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, 1 to 3 p.m.

Suzanne Schwendemann

Fort Dodge