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Heat or Eat?

January 13, 2021 | Media Center, Press Releases

When winter weather drives up utility bills, many Iowans have to choose between heating their home or buying groceries. Skipping meals is tragically common when the utility bill is due, especially for vulnerable older adults and others who live on a fixed income. Food Bank of Iowa is focused on filling the food need so Iowans won’t have to decide whether to heat or eat.   

Today, Food Bank of Iowa is running 30 more truck routes per month than last year at this time with their existing fleet of eight straight trucks and two cargo vans. This month they will ramp up capacity with the addition of a semi-tractor and a 40-foot trailer. The new big rig will be packed with 40,000 pounds of food every time it leaves the building, versus the 17,500 pounds which can be carried by a 26-foot straight truck. All of this means more food to hungry Iowans this winter. 

“No one should have to choose between a full stomach and a warm home,” president and CEO Michelle Book said. “However, adding routes and trucks is expensive, with every hour of trucking costing $75. With your help, we will continue to meet the unprecedented need across our 55-county service area, providing a safety net for vulnerable Iowans in need of food.”

In 2020, Food Bank of Iowa delivered over 1 million pounds of food to DMARC pantries, 10.5 million pounds within Central Iowa, and 21 million pounds to partners across their 55 county service area. 

Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated 262,500 Iowa families had to choose between paying for food or utilities. The number is greater today with food insecurity double overall and triple for households with children. With the post-holiday surge in positive COVID-19 cases, escalated unemployment claims and the additional pressure of heating bills, Iowans continue to struggle.

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