Access to food is critical for children, as studies show inadequate nutrition makes it more difficult for students to perform academically. That’s why Food Bank of Iowa is announcing a shift in distribution for families served by Des Moines Public Schools pantries. Previously, pantries were embedded in schools. To meet increased need and offer safe pickup for families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Bank of Iowa is moving pantries that had been embedded in 19 Des Moines schools to off-site locations offering drive-thru food distribution. These off-site locations will host regular weekly drive-thru food distributions, serving all DMPS families regardless of the school their children attend. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, DMPS reported 24,425 district students enrolled in the USDA free and reduced meal program. Before COVID, Feeding America reported 20% children eligible for free and reduced-price lunches are without adequate food at home. With the escalation in food insecurity, Food Bank of Iowa estimates more than 5,000 DMPS students need family food assistance now. Distribution locations and times for food pickups will be texted to each family by the school district within the next two weeks. The information is also available on the Food Bank of Iowa website.

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