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3rd Annual Hunger Banquet This year marked our 3rd Annual Hunger Banquet sponsored by Collins Community Credit Union. At this unique event, nearly 300 attendees got a firsthand look at the inequity of food insecurity in Johnson County through an interactive simulation, stories of real Food Bank clients, and the actual meal (or empty plate) served to them. During a live polling simulation, attendees were given real-life scenarios facing some of our Food Bank clients and asked to vote on what they would do. For example: you have type 1 diabetes and require insulin to live but you’re not eligible for any kind of insurance. Do you pay $25 for an older type of insulin that requires more testing, supplies, doctor visits, and

a regimented schedule? Go into debt for $400 insulin that is the current medical standard? Or do you choose what many Americans are forced to choose—ration your insulin and face health risks like blindness and life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis? CommUnity does more for our clients than feeding their families— we free up their financial resources to fulfill the needs for which community resources may not exist. We also provide little luxuries like lotion, chocolate milk, or ice cream that they would otherwise go without— something that Amylia, a Food Bank client, shared in a video produced by Flow Media for the Hunger Banquet. (View the full video at

In this Issue... »» Hunger Banquet Recap »» Farmer Stress Affects the Whole Family »» CommUnity Baby Shower »» Strike Out Hunger

We rely on the community of Johnson County to keep our Food Bank shelves stocked. A donation of $1 provides 5 pounds of food for neighbors who need it. Thank you for helping us feed over 1,000 households each and every week.

A special thanks to our emcees, Eric Hansen and Clare Duffy from Z102.9’s “The Morning Scramble.”

Join our mission at

FARMER STRESS AFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY By Liz Orton, Communications Manager In my work as a crisis counseling and suicide-prevention trainer, I know all too well that Iowa’s mental health resources are scarce and few. It’s not at all controversial to say that. Even in bigger cities and the most populated counties in Iowa, it’s difficult to get the help you need when you face a mental health crisis. Imagine you’re living in a small town and you are experiencing a mental health crisis. Where do you go? Emergency rooms and other resources are overburdened and not to mention expensive. We have to do better for rural Iowans. We have to do better, and quite frankly, we are at a critical juncture. Iowa’s farming families have always experienced a level of stress with their profession. But with flooding, falling commodity prices, tariffs, and a trade war, that stress is compounded in 2019. Many have compared the last few years with the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, in which suicide among agricultural workers reached a record high. Through my work as Communications Manager at CommUnity, formerly The Crisis Center, I met Brenda Boese. Brenda was 15 when her family lost their farm during the 1980s Farm Crisis. After building a new livestock building, prices fell dramatically. A farmer from a

neighboring town sold her father a herd of diseased hogs and the farm was quarantined by the state. Her father entered a five-year legal battle, and then faced foreclosure. The foreclosure itself wasn’t a slow process, however—it happened unexpectedly one day when flatbed trucks and police officers appeared to seize the family’s animals and property. It was a traumatic experience for Brenda and her teenage brother and sister. It would have long-term traumatic effects for the whole family. A year after the foreclosure, Brenda’s parents divorced. Family relationships became estranged. And in 2018 the unimaginable happened— Brenda’s sister died by suicide. “More emphasis needs to be put on the entire family, not just the farmer going through it,” Brenda told me, calling for resources for every member of a farming family. “They have to reach out and get help. The long-term effects aren’t worth it.” Brenda is a licensed master social worker with a bachelor’s degree in animal science, and she pointed out that livestock raised in stressful environments will produce lower-quality meat and become ill more often. Stress and trauma have similar effects on the human brain and body.

So how can farming families reach out given the stigma surrounding mental health and the lack of resources in rural Iowa communities? A recent study by the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH) at the University of Iowa found that in times of stress, farmers reported talking to their faith leaders rather than a doctor or counselor. That led GPCAH to partner with CommUnity to provide suicide prevention training to pastors and other members of the faith community in rural Iowa.* Additionally, CommUnity works with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to provide crisis services to those working in agriculture through Iowa Concern. In response to the 1980s Farm Crisis, ISU Extension created the Iowa Concern helpline, a 24/7 phone, chat, and text service where farmers can go for legal, financial, stress, and crisis/ disaster support. For family members of all ages, CommUnity provides free, emotional support via phone, chat, and text. Just call or text 1-855-325-4296 or chat at *Information on suicide prevention training can be found at

CommUnity Baby Shower Thank you to all who gave diapers and financial donations during April’s CommUnity Baby Shower diaper drive.

BECAUSE OF YOUR GENEROSITY... ...nearly a thousand children will receive diapers

11,500 diapers

950 Babies & Toddlers

Share your story for CommUnity’s 50th Anniversary celebration! We are inviting former clients, volunteers, and board members to share your story. What role has CommUnity played in your life? Contact Liz Orton at (319) 351-2726 ext. 113

...11,500 diapers were donated in April

1+ month ...our Food Bank and Mobile Pantry will be fully stocked with diapers for over 1 month

meet $1,620 to demand It would cost $1,620 per month for CommUnity to meet diaper demand

DIAPER NEED IS YEAR-ROUND Consider starting a monthly diaper subscription for CommUnity through Amazon, Target, or Walmart

Find us on Facebook! @builtxcommunity 1121 S. Gilbert Court Iowa City, IA 52240


Crisis Line: 1-855-325-4296 Food Bank: 319-351-0128 Business Line: 319-351-2726 Mobile Crisis: 1-855-800-1239

Upcoming Drives & Events..................................................................................................................................




4 out of 10

CommUnity Food Bank clients are children //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The equivalent of


could be filled exclusively with Johnson County children experiencing food insecurity


School’s out, but hunger won’t take a summer break. An estimated 4,400 children are food insecure in Johnson County and for many, school lunch is their only reliable meal. From June to August, at least 100 children and their families will visit CommUnity Food Bank for the very first time. That’s in addition to the 2,200 children we already serve on a monthly basis. Help us keep our shelves fully stocked this summer by taking part in our Strike Out Hunger food drive. You can get involved by hosting a food drive or making a financial contribution. Learn more at

Sunday, September 22, 2019 Registration & activities at 12PM Walk 2PM-4PM Youth Sports Park 2480 Dempster Dr. Coralville, Iowa All are welcome | Family friendly To register or donate online, visit:

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