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Cookbook blends tasty recipes with a focus on food insecurity

The holiday season is a time of celebration, when families come together to share their love and gratitude. It’s also a time of delicious food, as the kitchen becomes the center of attention with mouthwatering recipes shared and savored. A new cookbook from the Food Bank of Iowa offers tasty casserole dishes you can try this season while also raising awareness of hunger in Iowa communities.

The unique recipe collection arose from the 2023 Iowa State Fair, where the Food Bank of Iowa Chopped – Hot Dish Edition cooking contest was held, sponsored by Nationwide. Contestants put their best casserole forward, presenting dishes made from ingredients commonly available in local food pantries. The winning recipes from this year's event, along with those from the previous year, have been compiled into the "2023 Chopped – Hot Dish Edition Cookbook". The cookbook is freely downloadable, offering everyone an opportunity to try and share these award-winning recipes.

“These times are crucial for food banks. As we enjoy moments and meals with loved ones this holiday season, we shouldn’t forget about those facing challenges to put food on the table,” said Dirk Pollitt, vice president for Nationwide Agribusiness and board member at Food Bank of Iowa. "Whether volunteering, discussing hunger issues, trying a new recipe, or sharing this cookbook with someone that could benefit from it – every action raises awareness of the struggles many families endure to access essential food."

In fiscal year 2023, Food Bank of Iowa served 1.8 million individuals at partner pantries, a 45% increase over the previous year—equivalent to 661,758 households, 858,415 children, 735,049 adults, and 287,731 older Iowans. However, these figures only scratch the surface. The food bank also provided a total of 4.3 million points of service, encompassing meal sites, the BackPack Program, mobile pantries, residential programs, daycares, shelters, and more.

“Food Bank of Iowa continues to break records each month for the number of Iowans served, highlighting the escalating need for food assistance across our state,” said Pollitt. “We’re extremely proud to partner with the food bank to help provide nutritious meals to families in need."

In a heartwarming act of generosity, the winner of this year's cooking contest, DeeDee Kennedy of Des Moines, donated her winnings back to the food bank, reinforcing the vital role such institutions play in our communities.

To learn more about how you can make a difference by donating to the Food Bank of Iowa, please visit https://foodbankiowa.org/donate.