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A Note From Our CEO

February 13, 2020 | Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Coming just after January, February is the month of new beginnings. Meaning “to purify”, February was known as the “Month of Purification” during ancient Roman times. It is a transitional time, finding itself just after a month of reflection and New Year’s resolutions.

It’s hard to believe that as of February 1st, I have been at Food Bank of Iowa for four years.  Joining this passionate team of hunger fighters after thirty years of corporate work was a huge transition.  The move from working for shareholders to serving food insecure folks has been and will continue to be an act of purification.  

As I embraced my many corporate opportunities and challenges, I was extremely fulfilled by the accomplishments of the teams with whom I worked.  I continue to be grateful for the leaders and experiences which prepared me to lead this complex food rescue and distribution business.  But nothing prepared me for the heartache of looking into the eyes of poverty every day.

This past fall, I embarked on a journey to visit every county in our service area and before the end of the year I met with 26 of our northern rural partners. Each is unique.  Each is addressing poverty.  Each has a story of heart break.  Single moms without good job prospects.  Hopelessness and drug addiction.  Lack of affordable housing and homelessness.  And the biggest heartbreak of all – children raising themselves.  

And each has a story of success.  An antiquated small-town hotel turned community support center with a food pantry and a congregate meal program.  An alternative high school making sure non-traditional students can acquire a high school degree along with food, clothing, and love.   An elementary school teacher whose parents make deliveries from the school pantry to the country for students whose parents can’t afford gas to come to town.  And so many more.

In these contentiousness times, I am amazed and inspired by the work of tireless passionate volunteers across our network. To see the remarkable amount of love and selflessness with which these folks support their community is truly an act of purification. 

I encourage you to join me on this journey – our journey – to learn more about the power of collaboration.  It’s simple – just “Like” and “Follow” the Food Bank of Iowa Facebook page.  You can cover hundreds of miles of Iowa backroads with me without enduring my favorite podcasts and frequent requests to stop for photos. 

Thank you for your generous investment in accomplishing our shared vision of a hunger-free Iowa.

Together, we do make a difference.


Michelle Book

President & CEO

Food Bank of Iowa

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