Secretary Naig Announces “Pack the Pantry” Program to Support Food Pantries, Boost Availability of Iowa Ag Products

Cold storage grants help pantries provide more fresh foods to Iowans in need

DES MOINES, IOWA (June 29, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the “Pack the Pantry” grant program to help Iowa food pantries meet increasing food demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through “Pack the Pantry,” food pantries can apply for grants to increase their refrigeration capacity, which allows them to offer more perishable, locally-grown foods.

The program is made possible by CARES Act funding and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. Iowa Egg Council is also contributing resources to support the effort.

Through “Pack the Pantry,” the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will award local food pantries up to $10,000 to install refrigeration and cooler units. To apply, pantry directors should fill out the application found here. The application will be open until July 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

“In Iowa, we have seen our producers, business owners, and families step up to help those in need,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement is a great next step to address food insecurity. The ‘Pack the Pantry’ grant program will provide our food pantries with the tools they need to help even more Iowans have access to nutritious food.”

“Food pantries are the first, local line of defense against hunger in communities across Iowa. More refrigeration at food pantries means more Iowa eggs, dairy, produce and meat can get on plates where it’s needed most. I’m grateful that our farmers can be part of that solution,” said Secretary Naig.

“Refrigeration capacity is a barrier which limits the ability of food pantries to provide their clients with fresh protein and dairy products, and this issue is especially acute in rural Iowa,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Chair of the Feeding Iowans Task Force. “With demand for food assistance at record highs, these dollars will go a long way in expanding food pantry capacity.”

“This program will help ensure the health of our communities by addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, locally grown food for residents,” said Tom Mahoney, Chairman of  the Board of ITA Group Holdings and Board Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Pack the Pantry is an example of what we can accomplish when Iowans work together to help those in need.”

A summary of food resources available to those in need is available at


Downloadable the Pack the Pantry logo


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
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