No one could have predicted a drought would follow a food funding shortfall, but it happened in 2012.
Crisis Center Director Becci Reedus said human service agencies anticipated the U. S. Department of Agriculture would cut food program funding. "The timing (of the cut) was unfortunate . . . our families were struggling to get back on their feet following the 2008 Flood and a national recession."
A $3,432 grant award from the Community Foundation of Johnson County came at the right time, Reedus said. "We were fortunate to be able to parlay the Community Foundation funding into support through the Food Bank Program. We served 4,484 individuals, and more than half of those were children ages 17 and younger."
The grant to the Food Insecurity Funding Project, sponsored by the Crisis Center of Johnson County, allowed the Crisis Center to continue service to families and individuals deemed food insecure.
Food insecurity describes individuals who lack the ability to access food daily. Many may be able to purchase food most of the time, but sometimes they struggle to get by, and some simply don't know where they will get their next meal. Johnson County has an estimated 17,800 residents who are food insecure and that number is growing.
The Crisis Center used the grant to purchase nutritional food staples including canned tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, rice and macaroni and cheese and distributed them to clients. Johnson County households were eligible to visit the program once a week to select supplemental food items.
The Food Reservoir Program, administered by the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, provides no cost and low cost nutritional food items to local pantries. Supplemental food is one of many programs offered by the Crisis Center.