Northeast Iowa Food Bank

Fighting Hunger With the Northeast Iowa Food Bank

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank, located in Waterloo, Iowa, serves an estimated 40,000 people annually, 40 percent of whom are children. The food bank was quickly running out of space to store food and, on occasion, had to turn away shipments of food because there wasn’t room to store them.

With a $25,000 grant from the Principal Financial Group® and the Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc., in the fall of 2012, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank moved closer to reaching its $6 million capital campaign fundraising goal in an effort to build a larger food bank facility.

More Space, More Food for the Hungry

The new building will be able to store 500,000 more pounds of food per year, which means more food for the hungry.

Barbara Prather, executive director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank says fresh, nutritious food is often more expensive for low-income people to purchase. It also takes dedicated space and equipment to safely store fresh food. Due to space and equipment constraints, the food bank hadn’t been able to provide as much fresh food as it would have liked.

Donations from The Principal and others allowed the food bank to build a 45,000-foot warehouse that includes:

  • Refrigeration and freezer facilities
  • A dedicated food sorting and repacking space
  • An expanded pantry area
  • A commercial kitchen
  • A community education center
  • Administration and distribution offices

“We now have a drive-in cooler and freezer to store fresh food, and our new facility will enable us to take this product and provide more of it to agencies, programs and people in need,” Prather says.

The new facility serves as a food warehouse and distribution center for Northeast Iowa. It will provide food to nonprofit agencies serving low-income people in a core 16-county service area. The food reaches children, seniors, families and disabled individuals receiving assistance from food pantries, emergency shelters, meal sites, low-income day cares, senior centers and residential facilities for the disabled.

Investing in the Future of our Communities

“We believe in aiding programs that provide the most benefit to our employees’ communities and families,” says Mary O’Keefe, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at The Principal®. “By investing in the well-being of the community, we are investing in the future of our communities.”

With the addition of this new warehouse and distribution facility, the food bank anticipates distributing upwards of two million additional pounds of food within three years of the facility being fully operational.


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