14:14 PM

Fighting hunger in Iowa

Aspiring gourmands were put to the test during a new Iowa State Fair competition, “Food Bank of Iowa Chopped – Hot Dish Edition” with the goal of raising awareness about food insecurity. Sponsored by Nationwide, the competition awarded this year’s largest cooking contest prize to the person who best demonstrated tasty creativity within a budget.

Cooks were asked to create simple and affordable casseroles using foods readily available to pantry clients. Judging focused on taste, affordability, and appearance. Nationwide’s president of Agribusiness, Brad Liggett, served as a judge for the contest.

“The Iowa State Fair is an important cultural event that offered us an opportunity to partner with the Food Bank of Iowa to raise awareness,” said Brad Liggett, President of Nationwide Agribusiness, who served as a judge and sits on the Food Bank of Iowa Board of Directors. “Food insecurity in Iowa has doubled, even tripled with families with children due to COVID-19. It affects the health of our community and hinders growth, education and work performance.”

Olivia Smith from Winterset, IA collected the blue ribbon and a $1,000 cash prize provided by Nationwide. Smith’s “Family Favorite Skillet Casserole” included tater tots, ground pork, vegetables, creamy sauce and seasoning. The blue-ribbon award-winning recipes will be published in an electronic cookbook to be distributed to Food Bank of Iowa pantry partners.

“Our food pantries regularly ask for affordable, tasty and simple recipes to provide new ideas for pantry clients,” said Food Bank of Iowa CEO Michelle Book. “The casserole dishes from this competition are destined to become family favorites.”

The Nationwide Foundation supports food banks across the country and Feeding America’s efforts to source more fresh fruits and vegetables for people struggling with hunger. For more about Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation’s partnership with Feeding America and their efforts to fight food insecurity, visit the Feeding America page.