Hunger Importance.smallerFew Iowans take time out of their busy lives to think about hunger in their state, yet nearly 400,000 Iowans – including nearly 150,000 age 50 and older – are considered food insecure, meaning they lack the ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods in socially acceptable ways.

That’s a huge number for a state that is recognized as one of the country’s top agricultural areas. AARP thinks it’s a big problem and one worth tackling. Beginning on Friday, Feb. 21 in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, AARP State Director Kent Sovern and Iowa Food Bank Association Director Cory Berkenes along with HACAP Food Reservoir Director Amanda Pieper and Northeast Iowa Food Bank Director Barb Prather will lead sessions to review recent surveys of how Iowans think the problem should be addressed, and discuss how to engage Iowans in the fight to end food insecurity in our state.

Similar sessions are planned with leaders of the local food banks in two additional communities:  Sioux City on Feb. 28 and Mason City in March.

The goal of each session will be to discuss the barriers to broader community adoption, acceptance, or advocacy on the topic of food insecurity in their community.  The groups will suggest priorities for one or two specific action items surrounding the topic for which a new initiative or solution could move the community forward to address food insecurity issues.
Here’s the lineup:

Friday, February 21 – Hiawatha
Time:  8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
Place: HACAP Corporate Office, 1515 Hawkeye Dr.
RSVP: http://aarp.cvent.com/HACAPFoodReservoir
Please join Sovern, Berkenes and HACAP Food Reservoir Director Amanda Pieper and community Thought Leaders for breakfast and community thought leaders for a conversation about findings from a recent statewide Iowa hunger survey and a discussion on leveraging the information for greatest local impact.

Friday, February 21 – Waterloo
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Place: Northeast Iowa Food Bank offices, 1605 Lafayette
RSVP: http://aarp.cvent.com/NortheastIowaFoodBank
Please join Sovern, Berkenes, Northeast Iowa Food Bank Executive Director Barbara Prather and other thought leaders from the Cedar Valley area for lunch and a community conversation about findings from a recent statewide Iowa hunger survey and a discussion on leveraging the information for greatest local  impact.

Friday, February 28 – Sioux City
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Place: Sioux City Holiday Inn, 713 Gordon Drive
RSVP: http://aarp.cvent.com/SiouxlandFoodBank
Please join Sovern, Berkenes, Food Bank of Siouxland Executive Director Linda Scheid and other thought leaders from the Siouxland area for lunch and a community conversation about findings from a recent statewide Iowa hunger survey and a discussion on leveraging the information for greatest impact in the Siouxland area.

Iowa Food Bank Association
The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) is a collaboration of the eight Feeding America food banks that serve all Iowa’s 99 counties. Together, the food banks serve over 1,000 non-profit organizations serving ill, infant or needy individuals. These organizations include food pantries, emergency meal sites, congregational meal sites, emergency shelters, and other sites that provide food to clients. As an association, the organization is coordinating efforts to alleviate hunger by supporting Feeding America food banks that serve Iowa.