DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Anti-Hunger efforts have a new face and a new organization. The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) has welcomed Regenea A. Hurte as their new Executive Director. Hurte, who was previously the Public Benefits Attorney at the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Director of Virginia Hunger Solutions in Richmond, Virginia, has relocated to Iowa and continued working to give voice to those who are often overlooked. “Hunger is a significant issue in Iowa, one of the highest producing and grossing agricultural states in the country. Hunger affects us all, so I’m thrilled to work with the Food Banks who have led the fight for so long as well as other individuals and organizations that want to join the fight to end hunger for all Iowans” said Hurte. “Hunger is a primal, foundational issue that impacts every facet of life in Iowa. The success of our education system, strength of our workforce and economy, quality of life and health, and strengthening our communities are all positively impacted when individuals have quality access to nutritious, balanced meals.”
The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) is a collaboration of Feeding America food banks and affiliates that serve each of Iowa’s 99 counties. Together, the food banks serve over 1,000 non-profit organizations serving children, adults, and seniors. These organizations include food pantries, emergency meal sites, congregational meal sites, emergency shelters, and other sites that provide food to clients. As an association, the organization is coordinating efforts to alleviate hunger by supporting Feeding America food banks that serve Iowa. The eight IFBA member Food Banks distributed over 26 million meals in Iowa in 2016.
Hurte has also accepted the role of Executive Director for a new organization, Iowa Hunger Coalition (IHC), a new, permanent advocacy group. IHC was formed through the collaborative efforts of Iowa food banks, food pantries, food rescue organizations, community networks, and individuals dedicated to ending hunger. Although the members use different tactics to accomplish their goals, their mission is shared. IHC will allow the members to leverage their large networks and supporters to provide greater support for relevant legislative and other governmental efforts. The IHC will work to develop and implement effective anti-hunger policies in Iowa.
IHC has set two policy priorities for the 2018 legislative session. The first is to educate and advocate on behalf of maintaining SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and its positive impact on the economy and all of Iowa. The second is to enhance state tax laws to match federal tax laws for food donations and include hunger-fighting organizations in the sales tax exemption. IHC is a membership organization. Individuals or organizations interested in becoming members or lending support should visit iowahungercoalition.org.
On being Executive Director for both organizations, Hurte said “the goal is the same, to end hunger and with the strength of the entire membership combined, we can achieve this goal.”