FAQs

Do you have general questions about the Food Bank?  Take a look at the questions and answers below!  They may help shed some light on what we do here at NEIFB.  Scroll over a question to see the answer.

What is the difference between a Food Bank, food pantry and a soup kitchen?

What is the difference between a Food Bank, food pantry and a soup kitchen?

A Food Bank, such as the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, solicits, collects, stores, and distributes large quantities of food products to food programs, such as food pantries and soup kitchens. There are only 8 food banks in Iowa. A food pantry provides three-to-five-day food packages directly to families and individuals who have a place to live but not enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced, simple meals. Food pantries are a key source of emergency food for low-income families, the working poor, and for those whose food stamp benefits are exhausted. Many food pantries provide additional services, such as clothing and referrals to social service agencies. A soup kitchen prepares food provided by the Food Bank into nutritious meals for people who are often homeless. For some people, the soup kitchen meal is their only meal of the day.

What is food insecurity?

What is food insecurity?

“Food insecurity” refers to the lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times because of a lack of financial resources.

One of the most disturbing and extraordinary aspects of life in this very wealthy country is the persistence of hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2008:

  • Of the 49.1 million people living in food insecure households, 32.4 million are adults (14.4 percent of all adults) and 16.7 million are children (22.5 percent of all children).
  • 17.3 million people lived in households that were considered to have “very low food security,” a USDA term that means one or more people in the household were hungry over the course of the year because of the inability to afford enough food.

What is hunger?

What is hunger?

Very simply, hunger is defined as the uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food. When we talk about hunger in America, we refer to the ability of people to obtain sufficient food for their household. Some people may find themselves skipping meals or cutting back on the quality or quantity of food they purchase at the stores. This recurring and involuntary lack of access to food can lead to malnutrition over time.

Where does the Food Bank gets it's funding?

Where does the Food Bank get it's funding?

The Food Bank has an operating budget of $3.2 million and employs 24 people. On average, about 41 percent of the Food Bank’s revenue comes from individual donors; 26 percent is provided by corporate donors; 28 percent comes via foundations. The remaining funding consists of gifts from civic groups, churches and schools.

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

Where does the Food Bank get its food?

Where does the Food Bank get its food?

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the national Food Bank network, through which some food donations flow. National manufacturers along with local wholesalers, retailers, brokers and other food or food-related companies and organizations donate food and related products. These include packaged, canned, bottled, perishable and non-perishable foods and essential food products. Fresh produce is donated by the agricultural industry, and the Food Bank receives USDA commodities through the state. Finally, much of the shelf-stable foods the Food Bank distributes come through community food drives.

Stand-out food donors to the Food Bank include Hy-Vee, Fareway, Panera Bread, Kwik Star, Walmart, Target and Starbucks donate meat, deli, produce and prepared foods through our successful retail store donation program, which secures and distributes more than 1 million pounds of nutritious food annually.

How is the food distributed?

How is the food distributed?

Food arrives at the Food Bank in caseloads on tractor-trailers, large refrigerated trucks, and in private cars and SUVs from local food drives. The food is inspected, sorted, labeled, and stored at our warehouse for repacking and distribution in sizes suitable for community food programs. A comprehensive shopping or product list is maintained and made available daily via the food bank’s internal website, and each partner agency then creates its own food order. The Food Bank’s staff and volunteers pick, sort and pack each individual order, usually into orders that typically weigh anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds (or more). Representatives of the local partner agencies pick up the orders (usually weekly), while the Food Bank delivers orders to more distant agencies. Every day, the Food Bank’s 4 trucks are acquiring food throughout Northeast Iowa and/or delivering orders to our partner agencies.