MASON CITY, Iowa - Have you ever had to wonder where your next meal may come from? For many families across the country, including in North Iowa, food insecurity is a reality.
According to Feeding America, 1 in 9 people in Iowa struggle with hunger. For children, it's 1 in 7.
But there is hope in sight; as part of the statewide "Arresting Hunger" campaign, law enforcement agencies are asking for the public's help in food and money donations.
Newman Sophomore Eli Brinkley knew he had to do something to help those in need.
"It's huge. It may go unnoticed but it's a huge thing just to give back. It's the small things that really matter."
As part of a service project, he's helping fight hunger by encouraging people to donate to Hawkeye Harvest, which serves around 20,000 people.
"The amount of people they help on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is a lot. Anything that I can do, we can do, is extremely beneficial."
Ozzie Ohl with Hawkeye Harvest says because of that high demand, donated food quickly flies off the shelves.
"It might look like we have a lot of food here. Most of this will be gone in a month's time."
To fill their shelves, it takes anywhere from 16,000-20,000 lbs. worth of food. They get a truck load in once a month from the Food Bank of Iowa, as well as items from local grocers like Fareway and Hy-Vee, and even Smithfield Foods and area farmers, including one apple grower near Marble Rock that gives what she grows to the bank.
"Those are the items that our clients with limited financial resources aren't able to buy."
Ohl adds that Hawkeye Harvest relies on volunteer help and financial donations, in addition to food, to keep serving those in need in North Iowa.
If you're interested in taking part in the campaign, you can drop nonperishable food items or money at the Mason City Police Department, Clear Lake Police Department, Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's Office or Iowa State Patrol. The "Arresting Hunger" campaign runs until November 25th.