Mike Peters, AFL-CIO community services liaison for the Northwest Iowa Labor Council, reports on the Siouxland Food Bank.
This past Labor Day, the Northwest Iowa Central Labor Council presented a check for $6,000 to the Food Bank of Siouxland in Sioux City, Iowa. The donation comes as the need for food bank programs are growing. The donation will help the food bank’s Back Pack program, which provides nourishing snacks for children who qualify for free or reduced lunches in our school system to take home on the weekends. In some cases, this may be the only thing the kids have to eat over a weekend.
The Back Pack program began in 2006 and now serves 2,000 children from five elementary schools in Sioux City, Iowa, and South Sioux City, Neb., at a cost of $1.80 per snack.
If you would like to help the Back Pack program, send a donation to: Food Bank of Siouxland, P.O. Box 985, Sioux City, Iowa, 51102, or visit us at www.siouxlandfoodbank.org.
The need for the food bank has grown significantly since its beginning in 1989. In 1991 the food bank distributed a maximum of 10,000 pounds of food per month. By 2004, average distribution was 85,000 pounds a month. This year, the food bank distributes, on average, more than 130,000 pounds per month. In just the past two years, there has been a 30 percent jump in demand for food. In fact, the food bank distributed more than 1.6 million pounds of food in 2010. While some of the increase in demand is the result of an expanded effort by the United Way and local companies to reach out to those in need, the major cause of the change is the failed economy.
The food bank works with Feeding America, the largest nationwide network of certified food banks and food rescue operations. Nonprofits of all types use the food bank, including food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, residential facilities, senior programs, day care facilities and many more. Our service area includes eight counties in Iowa and seven in Nebraska.
The food bank receives food from various sources, including donations, food producers and retail outlets, food drives, and we sometimes purchase from vendors. The food bank also benefits each year from the Letter Carriers’ (NALC‘s) annual “Stamp Out Hunger” drive.