Volunteers from Amazon’s new Ankeny delivery station bag potatoes in the Food Bank of Iowa’s Des Moines volunteer center on Wednesday. Submitted photo

The Food Bank of Iowa announced it has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Healthy Hunger Relief initiative to further serve Iowans in its 55-county service area. The Food Bank of Iowa will work with PHA, the national nonprofit organization formed in conjunction with former first lady Michelle Obama, to address hunger, malnutrition and chronic disease by increasing the supply of more healthful food options. The Food Bank of Iowa is among 30 new food bank partners to join the Healthy Hunger Relief initiative, which more than doubles the program’s reach to include 30% of all food banks in the country, the nonprofit said in a press release. The Food Bank of Iowa, along with 29 other new Healthy Hunger Relief partners, will receive support from PHA to implement a comprehensive nutrition ranking system, developed by experts at Healthy Eating Research, over the next two years. In addition, PHA will provide technical assistance to help partners understand the nutritional quality of their inventory and make strategic decisions within and across food categories to improve nutritional quality, enhancing food equity for the communities they serve. the Food Bank of Iowa has received $70,000 in grant funding from PHA to establish the foundation needed to implement a nutrition ranking system and to support the distribution of nutritionally dense fresh produce. Another Iowa-based program, the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, which serves nine eastern Iowa communities, also joined the Healthy Hunger Relief initiative.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a yearlong Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa. Read additional stories on Iowastopshunger.com.