The River Bend Food Bank already has raised $6.1 million in its campaign to grow, and a prominent Quad Cities family is committed to making it a success.

In April 2022, the Geifman Iowa Family Trust (GIFT) Fund donated $25,000 in matching funds to support River Bend Food Bank’s “EXPANDING to End Hunger” Campaign. For the months of April and May, every donation to the Food Bank in support of the campaign was matched dollar for dollar by the Geifmans, up to $25,000.

River Bend Food Bank has raised $6.1 million in its capital campaign.

As of June 1, the Geifman campaign exceeded the goal and raised a total of $96,653.

“We are humbled by the incredible outpouring of support we’ve received from the Geifman family match,” Jenny Brinkmeyer-Colvin, Chief Development Officer for River Bend Food Bank, said in a Tuesday release. “We have a very giving community, and it’s inspiring to see everyone coming together to make this crucial project a reality.”

The response from the community for the match campaign has been so overwhelming that the Geifmans announced they’ll pledge an additional $18,000 to match donations received in support of the Food Bank’s capital campaign for the month of June.

As of May 31, River Bend has raised gifts and pledges totaling $6.1 million, said food bank spokeswoman Liz Dierolf. Based on updated construction costs, the total needed may be between $7 million and $8 million, she said Tuesday.

A rendering of the expanded River Bend Food Bank, at 4010 Kimmel Drive in west Davenport.

In February, the 40-year-old nonprofit announced the planned expansion of its facility at 4010 Kimmel Drive in west Davenport.

The much-needed additional space will drive growth for the organization and increase capacity to end hunger in its 23-county service area. This significant expansion includes plans for an additional 25,000 square feet and renovating existing spaces.

At a 60,000-square-foot warehouse near the Mississippi River, River Bend Food Bank has distributed food through pantries in churches, schools, senior living complexes, and community action organizations since 1982.

The increased capacity at River Bend will allow the food bank to distribute 50% more meals (a projected 35 million meals, from the fiscal year 2021 total of 23 million) to fulfill the unmet needs of people experiencing hunger.

Geifman family serves QC for a century

In 1921, George Geifman, a Ukrainian immigrant, arrived in Galveston, Tex., and made his way to Davenport. With limited English-speaking ability, Geifman made ends meet selling brooms up and down Brady Street to students living on the Palmer College of Chiropractic campus, according to the River Bend release.

However, when the students turned down his wares and told him what they really needed was food, the idea took hold and Geifman turned to wheeling a horse and wagon filled with produce through the neighborhood.

Geifman later took over a grocery store in what is now Kaiserslautern Park on 3rd and Brady streets, and a legacy was born. That store would grow to a 15-store chain of grocery retailers known as Geifman Food Stores, feeding QC-area residents for several decades before the locations were sold or rented out to other retail and commercial businesses like Hy-Vee, Inc. in the mid-1980s.

Geifman First Equity is based at 2172 56th Avenue West, Bettendorf.

Today, Steve Geifman — a fourth-generation family member and QC resident with his wife, Joni, and children, Ethan and Stella — runs Geifman First Equity – a Midwest real estate development company with 45 commercial and retail properties, along with the GIFT Fund.

“We’ve been in business for 101 years, and grocery was the main focus until the mid-1980s. Food is in our blood,” Geifman said in the release. “We’ve supplied the Quad Cities with food for a long time, and we wanted to find a mission for our family and the Trust to really help the Quad Cities with something we understand.”

How to give

Anyone wishing to make a gift of any size to the campaign can visit riverbendfoodbank.org/endhunger or can send a donation to: River Bend Food Bank – Geifman Match Campaign, 4010 Kimmel Dr., Davenport, IA 52802.

Ascentra Credit Union Foundation in April presented the River Bend Food Bank with a $50,000 grant toward an expansion to the Davenport facility. (photo: ACUF)

The renovation and expansion of the Food Bank’s Davenport facility are scheduled to begin in August of 2022 and take approximately 10 months to complete.