Volunteer at school pantry

New $1 million initiative combats hunger in rural Iowa and Wisconsin

Partnership with food banks aims to overcome chronically challenging food insecurity hurdles

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (January 30, 2024) – A new initiative will provide $1 million over the next two years to combat hunger across Iowa and Wisconsin. In partnership with local food banks, the Alliant Energy Foundation announces the Rural Hunger Initiative, a collaborative effort to combat the challenges surrounding food insecurity in rural communities.

“The Rural Hunger Initiative collaboratively determined opportunities with our food bank partners across Iowa and Wisconsin to help solve critical and chronically challenging hurdles in the communities we serve,” said Julie Bauer, executive director, Alliant Energy Foundation. “To create an impact, these new solutions will provide better access, more choice and fresh food to those in need in rural communities.”

In Iowa, Food Bank of Iowa and HACAP Food Reservoir saw a need for food pantries in schools. The Rural Hunger Initiative supports their work as they create safe and convenient community spaces. In some locations, this support will offer a boost to existing pantries. In others, it will help expand into communities currently without access to food pantries.

“School pantries support the entire family, providing convenient access in a familiar environment,” said Michelle Book, CEO, Food Bank of Iowa. “We know when a child faces hunger, there are almost always family members at home who need help with food. Our goal is to have a pantry in every school district Food Bank of Iowa serves.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent 2023 Household Pulse Survey, nearly 11% of adults in Iowa and Wisconsin live in households where there is sometimes or often not enough to eat. Due to ongoing inflation and remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities struggle at a higher rate, according to data from Feeding America.

“Families facing food insecurity living in rural communities are at a greater disadvantage. Having some funds to support schools in developing school pantries is vital to the fight against hunger,” said Kim Guardado, HACAP Food Reservoir director. “The school administrators, staff and volunteers are vital to these school pantries’ operation and set-up; they are the real heroes behind making sure their students and their families receive the food they need.”

Rural Hunger Initiative since August 2023: Food Bank of Iowa
Food Bank of Iowa is focusing its efforts on seven rural counties including Appanoose, Clay, Jefferson, Keokuk, Union, Wapello and Wayne. Here are some achievements so far.

  • Clay County: A new school pantry at Clay Central Everly Community in Royal distributed over 5,740 pounds of food, serving 96 individuals on average per month.
  • Union County: A new school pantry at Creston Middle School distributed nearly 13,600 pounds of food, serving 48 individuals on average per month.
  • Wapello County: A new school pantry at the Ottumwa Gateway Center distributed over 47,400 pounds of food, serving 266 individuals on average per month.

Rural Hunger Initiative since Fall 2023: HACAP Food Reservoir
HACAP is focusing its efforts to develop school pantries in seven of the counties they serve, Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Linn, Johnson, Jones and Washington. Here are some achievements so far.

  • Cedar County: The new pantry at Bennett Community School has served on average 32 households per month, aligning with the number of households previously served by the recently closed church pantry.
  • Cedar and Johnson Counties: The new pantry in the former middle school building in West Branch has served around 30 households per week. This pantry serves the entire West Branch school district.
  • Jones County: The new school pantry at Anamosa High School has served on average around 56 households per week.

The Rural Hunger Initiative in Iowa will continue to develop and expand programming focused on rural schools and veteran pantry options through 2025.

The initiative is supported by the Alliant Energy Foundation, a philanthropic organization of the Alliant Energy Corporation. The Foundation is operated as a separate entity led by its own board of directors. It is funded solely by Alliant Energy stakeholders and seeks to further the corporation’s goals as a good corporate citizen and contributing member of society.

About the Alliant Energy Foundation
The Alliant Energy Foundation is a philanthropic organization created by Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) and is operated as a separate entity led by its own board of directors. The Foundation is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where Alliant Energy employees, retirees and customers live and work. The Foundation, which is funded solely by Alliant Energy shareowners, seeks to further the corporation’s goal of being a good corporate citizen and contributing member of society. Since 1998, the Foundation has contributed more than $70 million to innovative projects and local nonprofits. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com/foundation.

About Food Bank of Iowa
Established in 1982, Food Bank of Iowa provides nutritious food for Iowa children, families, seniors and veterans to lead full and active lives, strengthening their communities. Serving 55 of Iowa’s 99 counties, Food Bank of Iowa delivers more than 21 million pounds of food (more than 17 million meals) to its 700 partners annually. Learn more at foodbankiowa.org.

Food Bank of Iowa supports 150 school pantries in 43 counties in Iowa. The organization’s goal is to create a school pantry in each of the 168 school districts in the areas it serves, as well as every Des Moines district school.

About HACAP Food Reservoir
HACAP has been serving Eastern Iowa individuals in need since 1956. Its mission is to help people develop skills to become successful and build strong communities. HACAP offers a variety of services within its five initiatives that assist 72,000 individuals every year with over 300 employees in nine counties. For more information, visit www.hacap.org

Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) provides regulated energy service to 1 million electric and 425,000 natural gas customers across Iowa and Wisconsin. Alliant Energy's mission is to deliver energy solutions and exceptional service customers and communities count on – safely, efficiently and responsibly. Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL) are Alliant Energy's two public energy companies. Alliant Energy is a component of Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index and the S&P 500. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com and follow Alliant Energy on LinkedIn, FacebookInstagram and X.

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