Frequently Asked Questions

Where was the Food Bank located before its current location?  What year was it established?

The Food Bank was opened in 1981 at the empty Francis Grout School located by McKinstry Elementary School.  By 1982 the Food Bank had acquired 18 member agencies for the Member Agency Distribution program in addition to the Food Pantry. As the Food Bank grew and evolved, the organization was moved to 106 E. 11th Street in Waterloo in 1988. Today, the Food Bank is located just blocks away from that site. 


How long has the Food Bank been in at this location?

The Food Bank had outgrown the previous location leading to the construction of a new facility. The Food Bank has been at its current site since April of 2013. 


What is Feeding America?  Web site?

Feeding America is located in Chicago, IL.  They are the largest Food Bank and Food Rescue Organization in the United States.  Currently there are over 200 food banks and food rescue programs in the network.  Through these programs Feeding America distributes billions of pounds of food to 37 million hungry people, including nearly 14 million children and nearly 3 million elderly people.  If you would like more information you can check out their website at


How many Food Banks are there in Iowa? 

There are 5 Food Banks, 1 PDO and 2 RDO’s that serve the state of Iowa.  The Food Banks are located in Waterloo, Des Moines, Hiawatha/Cedar Rapids, Moline, IL and Omaha, NE.   The PDO is located in Sioux City and the RDO's are located in Ottumwa and Dubuque. 


What is an PDO?, RDO? 

A PDO or Partner Distribution Organization is a 501(c)(3) organization or a wholly owned subsidiary of a 501(c)(3) organization that fulfills ALL primary food banking and/or food rescue responsibilities on behalf of the Member through a defined portion of a Member’s service area. An RDO or Redistribution Organization is a 501(c)(3) organization or a wholly owned subsidiary of a 501(c)(3) organization that a Member contracts with for purposes of the logistical transfer of food and grocery product which will include one or more, but not all, primary food banking responsibilities.


Do you have a Web site?

Yes, our web site is


What are shared maintenance fees?

A shared maintenance fee is a handling fee paid to us by member agencies in return for services provided to them.  The function of the shared maintenance fees is to support the work of getting food and grocery items to the people who need it, when they need it, and where they need it.

Shared maintenance fees are charged to agencies (non-profit organizations), based on a per pound basis, for food and grocery items received.  The needy persons receiving the food and grocery items are never charged for the food.  IRS rule 170(e)(3) states that such a system is permitted if charges are not passed along to individuals and the fee is not based on the value of the product.  Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, and other national charities also utilize such a fee structure.


Why are shared maintenance fees necessary?

The continual maintenance of a professional, quality food distribution organization costs money and shared maintenance fees help to defray a portion of these costs.  Many services are donated to food bank distribution centers, but it is not possible as a nonprofit organization to procure underwriting for all costs associated with the distribution. 
Shared maintenance fees help provide a stable funding base to ensure continuity and consistency in this charitable food distribution system that affects thousands of agencies and millions of needy people.  Feeding America recently polled hundreds of agencies with regards to the fairness of this system.  Overwhelmingly, the agencies responded that they prefer a maintenance fee to a membership fee.  The agencies also responded that they utilize the food bank for many items that they could not otherwise acquire through local donations from their community members.


How is the Food Bank Funded? 

Shared Maintenance Fees
Government:  Black Hawk County and the Federal Government
United Way: Cedar Valley and Waverly Shell Rock
Individuals, Businesses and Churches
Special Events
Grants and Foundations


How is the Food Bank staffed?

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank depends on a staff of 18 full time and 7 part time people.  All of these positions are important to the day to day operations of our facility.  Through shared maintenance fees, contributions, grants and government funding our organization is able to pay the staff to assist in accomplishing our mission.  Our staff is small and we rely on many volunteers to make our operation run smoothly.  If we did not have volunteers, we estimate we would have to nearly double our staff, dramatically increasing our budget.


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