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Wellmark Foundation grant helps Iowans in need gain access to critical services

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, enlists help from food pantries, shelters

February 15, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Iowa Food Bank Association will use a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to help Iowans in need access state-based human services programs.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Food Bank Association, working through the Food Bank of Siouxland in Sioux City, and dozens of community partners across the state.

Helping Iowans without computer access sign up for services online
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is available to many individuals in Iowa, but is not fully utilized due to lack of knowledge and access. SNAP Mobile Access Points, however, can bring the internet directly to Iowans.

The project will provide trained staff equipped with internet-accessible netbooks at food pantries, emergency meal sites and shelters throughout the state to help eligible clients apply for state programs via the Online Application for State of Iowa Services (OASIS) website.

OASIS, operated by the Department of Human Services, provides an online joint application for numerous state programs, including:

  • SNAP
  • Cash assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • Child care assistance
  • Well child and prenatal care
  • Family planning.

Grant one of only 17 competitively selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their communities. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant award to the Iowa Food Bank Association represents one of 17 competitively awarded to establish or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“Helping those in need apply for critical services is an important way we can improve Iowans’ health,” says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “The Iowa Food Bank Association is not only improving access to food, but also to additional benefits that support the overall health of their families.”

About Iowa Food Bank Association
The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) is a collaboration of the eight Feeding America food banks that serve all Iowa’s 99 counties. Together, the food banks serve over 1,000 non-profit organizations serving ill, infant or needy individuals. 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.

For more information on the Iowa Food Bank Association, contact Jordan Vernoy, (563) 449-2739 / For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit




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