"Pack the Pantry" program to help feed hungry Iowans

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the Pack the Pantry grant program to help Iowa food pantries meet increasing food demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Pack the Pantry, food pantries can apply for grants to increase their refrigeration capacity, which allows them to offer more perishable, locally-grown foods.

The program is made possible by CARES Act funding and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. Iowa Egg Council is also contributing resources to support the effort.

Through Pack the Pantry, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will award local food pantries up to $10,000 to install refrigeration and cooler units. To apply, pantry directors should fill out the application found here. The application will be open until July 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m./CT.

“In Iowa, we have seen our producers, business owners, and families step up to help those in need,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement is a great next step to address food insecurity. The Pack the Pantry grant program will provide our food pantries with the tools they need to help even more Iowans have access to nutritious food.”

“Food pantries are the first, local line of defense against hunger in communities across Iowa. More refrigeration at food pantries means more Iowa eggs, dairy, produce and meat can get on plates where it’s needed most. I’m grateful that our farmers can be part of that solution,” said Secretary Naig.

“Refrigeration capacity is a barrier which limits the ability of food pantries to provide their clients with fresh protein and dairy products, and this issue is especially acute in rural Iowa,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Chair of the Feeding Iowans Task Force. “With demand for food assistance at record highs, these dollars will go a long way in expanding food pantry capacity.”

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