COVID-19 Resources on Food Insecurities from Access 2 Independence

The following information is provided by Access 2 Independence of the Eastern Iowa Corridor, Inc., Iowa City, Iowa.

COVID-19 & Food Insecurities

When COVID-19 first came to their community, Sarah Martinez, Executive Director of Access 2 Independence, reached out to one of the contractors of their Area Agency on Aging (AAA) who does Meals on Wheels delivery to see if they would be willing to deliver to people identified as homebound and in need of pre-made meals. Their AAA is also an ADRC, so Sarah was hoping this designation would help ensure supports for those under 65 years of age. The contractor was very cooperative and told Sarah not to worry about money up front and made sure the food was delivered. As it turned out, the center did not need to utilize this option greatly.

Sarah discusses the center’s approach to food insecurity and how the center is using CARES Act funding to supplement food boxes:

“The bulk of addressing food insecurity comes from our collaboration with our local community action program to get 25 lb. boxes of shelf-stable food to keep on hand in both of our offices. For anyone who says they are food insecure, our staff can do a drop-off of a box to their door. We got a small $250 grant from Kelly's Kitchen addressing food insecurity to supplement the contents of the food boxes (examples of food box ingredients include rice, dried beans, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned beans, canned chicken, cereal, oatmeal). My concern is that while the food boxes address food insecurity, they are not necessarily healthy or nutritious by themselves. We have been purchasing frozen vegetables and meat and including recipes on how to incorporate these ingredients with that of the food box to create a full meal. For example, to utilize canned chicken and cream of chicken soup in the box we bought frozen peas and carrots and a pie crust to make a homemade chicken pot pie. We will continue to supplement food box ingredients with CARES Act funding. We are looking intoCSAs and connecting with local master gardener programs to have fresh produce donated to us that we could distribute to those in need. We continue to think of ways through recipes or remote services to help consumers utilize these ingredients. We are in the process of trying to get a deep freezer donated to us to store more food in the office in addition to more shelving to store nonperishables.”

For more information on COVID-19 resources and updates from Access 2 Independence, click here, email at info@access2independence.org or call 319-338-3870.

To learn more about CARES Act funding and how CILs can utilize the funding to respond directly to the COVID-19 pandemic, access the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) Frequently Asked Questions for Centers for Independent Living: COVID-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act) Funding on ACL’s website at https://acl.gov/COVID-19 under “Guidance for ACL Programs."