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Leaders should work together to help people in need

We're pleased to share a recent letter to the editor by Anne Bacon, CEO, IMPACT Community Action Partnership. The letter was published in the Des Moines Register on Dec. 18, 2022. For additional context, please scroll down.


Leaders should work together to help people in need


This week I read two quotes that raised the same question:

  1. “We do not understand why anyone would work against more equitable access to food.” (statement by Food Bank of Iowa Board of Directors).

  2. “What would motivate local groups to fight against more equitable food access to those in need?” (Recent letter to the editor, The Des Moines Register).

As the leader of a local non-profit committed to ensuring access to essential needs (including food) for low-income families, I felt it important to respond to these incendiary quotes. First and foremost, I regularly engage with partners committed to fighting food insecurity. All are deeply committed to meeting the needs of those struggling in our communities. The leaders of these organizations are passionate, thoughtful, and hardworking. To suggest that these groups are working against food insecurity is absurd. This collaborative work is hard, but essential, as we address complex issues. Collaborations and partnerships require all stakeholders to come to the table to plan and adapt approaches. Unilateral decisions that impact tens of thousands of our neighbors are ill-advised in any context.


If we had unlimited resources, we would never limit the food requested by those seeking assistance, and thanks to many of our current partners, we are able to provide unrestricted access to segments of our inventory.


IMPACT Community Action, the organization I represent, did not sever ties with the Food Bank of Iowa. We requested additional time to work on a collaborative solution that could best serve our community. This request was ignored, and our contract was terminated by the Food Bank of Iowa. The decision to terminate that contract did not increase equitable access to food; access was diminished.


I remain hopeful that our current situation can be remedied by coming together and finding the solution that best serves our community.


— Anne Bacon, Ankeny

photos:

  1. Anne Bacon, CEO, IMPACT Community Action Partnership

  2. Dry food storage, one of three IMPACT food pantry sites

  3. Cold food storage, one of three IMPACT food pantries

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Additional context:

  • IMPACT Community Action Partnership’s mission is to increase access to essential needs including food, housing and utilities.

  • To increase access to food, IMPACT runs three food pantries -- one in Boone County and two in Polk County, serving more than 3,000 families annually using the choice food model that enables families to select their own products to best meet their needs.

  • IMPACT’s two Polk County food pantries are part of the DMARC Food Pantry Network, a collaborative designed to better serve residents in Greater Des Moines, as a more densely populated area.

  • IMPACT and the entire DMARC network have a long history of collaborating with the Iowa Food Bank, a critical source of high quality, low-cost food inventory.

  • In November 2022, Food Bank of Iowa terminated the partnership agreement with DMARC and 10 of their partner pantries – including IMPACT’s two pantry locations in Polk County, thus diminishing the food supply for families who need essential assistance.

  • For more details: www.dmarcunited.org/2022/11/so-whats-going-on-with-dmarc-and-food-bank-of-iowa/

  • Ways to support families who need access to essential services: www.impactcap.org/helpfamilies

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