September is national Hunger Action Month, and River Bend Food Bank will join Feeding America and other member food banks to raise awareness of people experiencing food insecurity across the U.S.

Food banks around the country are working to make a real and lasting impact on hunger in their communities, and they are asking for the public’s support. Orange is the color of hunger, and Hunger Action Month offers communities an opportunity to show support of hunger-relief efforts and to raise awareness of the impossible choices the children and adults experiencing food insecurity face every day, according to a Tuesday food bank release.

River Bend Food Bank raised $6.2 million in its capital campaign as of this summer.

September marks the 15th year Feeding America — the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a nationwide network of 200 food banks, including River Bend Food Bank, and 60,000 partner food pantries and meal programs — has organized the annual call to action.

“Many people may not give a daily meal much thought. For people facing hunger, a daily meal is not as simple,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “Instead, it becomes a different type of choice – an impossible decision between food or other crucial needs, such as electricity, childcare, or medicine. Nobody should be forced to make a choice to go hungry.

“With the public’s support, we can come together to help increase food access for all people, so they no longer have to make such tough decisions,” she said in the release.

Davenport Skybridge to glow orange

This week, through Sept. 25, the Davenport Skybridge will be lit in orange to show community support of the Food Bank and Hunger Action Month. In the past four months, while donated and government-supplied food continues to decrease, River Bend Food Bank has seen an increase in demand for food support in pantries throughout our region.

As the holidays approach, the Food Bank must prepare to meet a greater need, and they invite everyone to consider giving back during Hunger Action Month to help boost food supplies so no one goes hungry. During the month of September, you can get involved by learning about and supporting hunger-relief efforts, and by volunteering or giving back to end hunger in our region.

Jenny Colvin, chief development officer for River Bend Food Bank, will be one of the contestants at Thursday’s Dancing with the QC Stars, 7:30 p.m. at Eldridge Community Center, 400 S. 16th Ave.

This week, join River Bend at one of these activities and see Hunger Action Month in action:

  1. Dancing with the QC Stars – Eldridge Community Center, Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. River Bend Food Bank’s own Jenny Colvin competes for the mirror ball trophy AND donations to the Food Bank. Friends from John Deere will be there, along with staff and community members, cheering her on!
  2. University of Illinois Extension Office Hunger Action Walk – Black Hawk State Park and Galva Veterans Park, both on Friday, Sept 23 at 11:30 a.m.: Help the University of IL Extension Office “Stomp out hunger” with a non-perishable or monetary donation and a walk through the park at one of two locations.
  3. U of IL Extension Office Hunger Action donation drop off – Mercado on 5th, Friday, Sept. 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: U of IL staff will collect shelf-stable and monetary donations at the downtown Moline festival.
  4. Hunger Action Day – Sept. 23rd, all day: wear orange (the color of hunger) to raise awareness and show support for River Bend Food Bank and our hunger-relief partners working to build healthy, thriving communities.

Other ideas to fight QC hunger:

  • Volunteer at the Food Bank – join one time or make it a regular get-together with coworkers, friends, or
  • Host a funds & food drive at your business or social club.
  • Wear orange and give back on Hunger Action Day – Sept. 23 – for River Bend Food Bank’s Day of Giving.
  • Give $4, $40, or $400 in honor of River Bend’s 40th anniversary (every $1 can create FIVE meals!). An anonymous donor is matching ALL donations up to $25,000.

Hunger impacts every community in the country. Today, increased gas prices, reductions in SNAP benefits, and an inflation rate not seen since 1981 (before the Food Bank was founded) means more of our neighbors are finding themselves faced with impossible choices of buying food or paying for other necessities like electricity and medication.

Ascentra Credit Union Foundation presented the River Bend Food Bank with a $50,000 grant in April 2022 toward an expansion to the Davenport facility.

According to River Bend:

  • In 2022, the Food Bank is experiencing a 40% decrease in donated food, while need in the months of June, July, and August has consistently risen – now approx. a 60% increase over the same period in 2021.
  • In 2019, 40 million people across the country accessed charitable food assistance programs during the
    year. In 2021, that number was 53 million. Working together with our communities, River Bend Food Bank and Feeding America food banks across the country have increased food distribution to meet the increased need and mitigate a food insecurity crisis.
  • In Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022), River Bend:
    o Facilitated 399 mobile food pantries.
    o Handed out 84,812 backpacks of meals to children (total of 508,872 meals – 6 meals per backpack).
    o Supplied 64 school food pantries.
    o Supported eight senior living complex food pantries.
    o 1,592 volunteers donated 16,161 hours of time to sort and pack food, deliver meals, and work with pantry
    o Distributed 17,233,784 meals across 23-county service area.

You can find a food pantry near you by clicking HERE.