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IDALS Offers Further Assistance For Food Insecure Iowans

IARN — Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) officials strive to connect food insecure Iowans with Iowa agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic.

They enhanced such efforts today by offering financial assistance to food banks needing to build out refrigeration capacity for perishable food products.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig is excited to further connect food insecure Iowans with Iowa agriculture in the latest program, called Pack the Pantry.

“We started with Pass the Pork, and I’m proud of the way the Iowa pork producer community stepped up, even in a challenging time. We delivered the five-hundred-thousandth pound of ground pork a couple weeks ago, and have gone beyond that,” Secretary Naig said.

“Then we launched Beef Up Iowa, to connect our beef producers with those in need,” Secretary Naig said. “(We’re) working together with Iowa State University’s Meat Lab (for) processing. We know meat lockers and small processors across the state are busy, so we’re excited to be able to bring the Iowa State facility online to help with that.”

“Now, Pack the Pantry. This is responding to the need we saw and heard from food pantries and food banks for additional refrigeration in those facilities,” Secretary Naig said. “This is all under the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force. Ultimately, we hope to make these grants available to food pantries across the state.”

Governor Reynold’s Feeding Iowans Task Force recently allocated $200,000 to Pack the Pantry. Eligible food banks may receive up to $10,000, depending on given circumstances. Secretary Naig says this program will “help folks today, and for years to come.”

“They can receive up to $10,000, depending on the size of their operation and what they need, in terms of a refrigerator. Some will need something that would go in a kitchen and others will need more of an industrial sized refrigerator. We want to give them flexibility,” Secretary Naig said. “Ultimately, this allows them to offer more perishable products like milk, eggs, and local produce that they can use and make healthy food available to folks who need it.”

Pantry directors may access the grant application here, and must submit applications by 11:59 pm. CT on July 17, 2020.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

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