OTTUMWA — The Food Bank of Iowa was thrilled after recently receiving 1,000 pounds of peanut butter from Hy-Vee and Hormel Foods.
Operations Coordinator Sandra McReynolds said the Food Bank of Iowa serves around 100 agencies monthly, so getting the donation was vital as they partner with different food pantries, day cares, rehab centers and senior feeding programs in need of peanut butter.
“We were very happy to receive that call,” she said. “It’s a staple for us, core foods that we like to have on hand, but it also goes off the shelves very quickly and at the present time we didn’t have peanut butter, so it filled a need that we didn’t have in our warehouse.”
The peanut butter is making its way to different sites and McReynolds could not be more thrilled than to see the peanut butter go toward organizations in need of it.
“It made a great difference,” she said, “because we were able to meet the need of all the partner agencies that received orders this week.”
As the weather gets colder and the holiday season approaches, McReynolds said there’s an increased need for peanut butter. “It’s just more difficult to be out in the weather,” she said. “Your body needs more nutrition when it’s colder because you burn more calories to stay warm.”
McReynolds said canned meats, canned vegetables and fruits, and pasta boxes are also necessary needs.
“We try and look at what our users want,” she said. “Of course we want healthy food, but we also want food that is available to them. A lot of folks that are already compromised may not have full access to a kitchen, and we want to make sure we provide ready-to-access items and meals that don’t require a lot of extra ingredients to prepare.”
McReynolds hopes they continue their partnership with Hy-vee as the need for peanut butter grows.
“I always want to make sure we recognize Hy-Vee and Skippy for their valuable donation and the local directors for coming down here and presenting that with us,” McReynolds said. They’re great partners for us beyond this donation. They are just very generous to us all the time through their retail donations.”
The food donations can help people celebrate the holiday season with their families and not go hungry.
“Every parent, every human wants to give gifts and celebrate the holidays and have joy with their family,” she said, “and as Americans I think very specifically we really put food and the holidays and love together. I think that’s just a little bit of normalcy.”
The peanut butter donation, McReynolds said, is part of the Food Bank of Iowa’s mission, which is to end hunger in southeast Iowa. For her, every donation helps.
“We can stretch $1 donation into about four meals' worth of food,” she said, “because we can buy those full truckloads from those corporate partnerships that are already giving us good rates.”
The donation also helped McReynolds think of other goals for the food bank.
“Our goal is to make sure that we are procuring and distributing the food,” she added, “that is required for our partner agencies to meet the needs of their clients. We’re always looking for new community partners. That would definitely be a goal for us to find new donors both in product and finance and to spread more awareness of the Food Bank of Iowa as a distribution center and our ability to resource partners.”
To make a monetary donation you can visit https://www.foodbankiowa.org/ottumwa or call McReynolds at 641-682-3403 to set a time and date to come in and bring canned goods, peanut butter or funds.