Hunger happens 365 days of the year, and it happens for 26,690 individuals right here in Polk County. The Partnership for a Hunger-Free Polk County has the solution — to raise enough funds to support the efforts of local food pantries and other food providers to ensure that the 13,464 children who are food insecure in our community have access to the food they need, and not just during the holidays but every day of the year. Please join in us in supporting this important effort with your generous donations of money, time or food. Together, a hunger-free Polk County is within reach.

The Partnership for Hunger Free Polk County recently completed a new local survey by Des Moines University to measure the food insecurity problem in our own community. Previous statistics were based on a national study and poverty demographics. The new results are from a statistically significant sampling of the Polk County community and are eye opening. We now know that there are 26,690 people, including 13,464 children, in Polk County who are literally going hungry. There are an additional 72,379 people in Polk County who are food insecure but not experiencing immediate hunger. This means that through public assistance they are able to patch together enough food for their family today but they are uncertain about if they will have enough tomorrow and one financial set-back can put them into the “hungry” category. This distinction between “hungry” and “food insecure” is helpful in determining strategies to help both groups. To address true hunger we can continue expanding food pantry availability and explore other programs that provide meals directly to those in need. However, the individuals who are food insecure would be better served by helping them improve their earnings, possibly through education or job training.


"I’m on a fixed income, and it’s not enough to get by. I rely on visits to the food pantry to supplement my needs. I don’t know what I’d do without it."
"I don’t make enough to pay for everything. I can choose between paying bills or buying food, so I choose bills. Now I have my daughter living with me, and she actually makes good money, but it’s still not enough somehow."
"My income changes all the time, depending on how much work I can get. Sometimes it’s enough to pay for food. Too often, it’s not."


In 2015, Polk County Supervisor John Mauro initiated a conversation with key stakeholders that eventually became the Partnership for a Hunger-Free Polk County to address the county’s hunger crisis. Members of the Partnership represent a diverse range of concerned individuals and organizations, including health care providers, religious institutions, universities, senior and community centers, government agencies and food pantries. To better assess the hunger crisis, the Partnership commissioned a food insecurity study to identify obstacles and barriers for both food providers and recipients as it applies to meeting the needs for emergency food and meals in Polk County. Based on that study, the Partnership developed a plan and will act as a catalyst for change in ensuring residents have access to needed food.


Bidwell - Riverside

South, East


Central Iowa Shelter


Untitled-2_0009_Layer 1

IMPACT and Cross Ministries



Epworth Center



Partnership Place

North, West


IMPACT Community Action Partnership (Ankeny)



Salvation Army - Citadel



Salvation Army - Temple



Catholic Charities St. Mary Family Center



Urbandale Food Pantry



West Des Moines Human Services



The study commissioned by the Partnership for a Hunger-Free Polk County concluded that one of the best ways to address the food insecurity of Polk County residents was by providing more and better access to food resources. This can best be accomplished by achieving several key initiatives documented in the Partnership for a Hunger-Free Polk County proposal.

All Projects

River Place Food Pantry
Urbandale Food Pantry Extended Hours
Impact Community Action (Drake) Extended Hours
Mobile Food Pantry
St. Vincent De Paul Extended Hours
Bidwell Riverside Extended Hours
Creative Visions Extended Hours
New St. Vincent De Paul Pantry
New Northside Site
Boys and Girls Club Evening Meals
Food Warehouse
CISS Extended Hours
West Des Moines Human Services Extended Hours
Community Meals
School Based Food Assistance


If you are interested in donating or volunteering your time to the Hunger Free Polk County initiative, please select one of the options below.

*Money raised through this initiative will add much needed supplemental dollars to what agencies in the Polk County currently invest to address the hunger crisis in our own backyard.

Get in touch

If you are interested in learning more about the Hunger Free Polk County initiative, please contact us below.