Food Bank of Southern Iowa gets a new home

The Food Bank of Southern Iowa has a new home.

They have moved into a larger facility where more food donations can be housed and distributed to families in need.

"The new facility's going to give us a lot more room, that's going to make our capability to accept donated product even - we can accept more product," said Neal Abbott, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Southern Iowa. "We actually have a new freezer that's probably 75 percent more of what we had before, so we'll be able to accept a lot more frozen food from national donors and local donors."

The new facility is a step in the right direction, but the problem of hunger in Iowa is far from being solved.

"In Wapello County, 15.6 percent of the population is food insecure," said Jordan Vernoy, State Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association. "That's nearly 6,000 individuals and those individuals are missing the equivalent of one million meals a year."

Vernoy said there is a misconception about food banks in this country, and the majority of families needing food assistance are not taking advantage of the system.

Especially needing assistance are children, many of whom do not get enough food both at school and at home on weekends.

"Hunger affects everybody one way or the other, if kids can't achieve in school because they're hungry, it affects the condition of our whole community," said Desiree Johnson, Executive Director of the United Way of Wapello County.

Lee, Appanoose, Jefferson and Wapello Counties are four of the five counties with the highest food insecurity rates in the state.

Abbott and Vernoy said cash donations are the best. Donating one dollar can purchase $15 worth of food.

The Food Bank of Southern Iowa is now located on West Main Street, and accepts cash and food donations year-round.