We serve the hungry.

Who is hungry?

hyvee hall

MftH/Annual Hunger Fight in Des Moines

People in Our Neighborhoods

Hunger isn’t just in the lives of children and families far away. Too many Iowans go to bed and wake up hungry every day. A 2014 study by Feeding America reports:

  • 1 in 8 Iowans struggle with hunger
  • 1 in 5 Iowa children don’t have enough to eat
  • Nearly 400,000 Iowans live at or below poverty level


Jack/Poverty in the U.S./Creative Commons

People Across the Nation

Hunger impacts many in the United States. “When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well.” (Feeding America, 2014)

  • 15.3 million children live in food-insecure households.
  • 20% or more of the child population in 37 states live in food-insecure households.
  • New Mexico (29%) and Mississippi (29%) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.



MftH/Children in Haiti

People Around the World

The majority of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, where an estimated 780 million people were undernourished in 2014. (FAO, 2015)

  • 1 in 4 people remain undernourished in sub-Sahara regions of Africa – with about 220 million hungry people.
  • Around 100 million children in developing countries are underweight.
  • 66 million children attend school hungry.


Where our meals go

MftH_locations-mapWe send food to locations where we’re positive it will get distributed into the right hands. With careful attention to the social and political restrictions throughout the world, these are the areas our food is currently distributed:

Global distribution: Haiti, South Africa, Cambodia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Philippines, Burundi, Uganda, Mexico, Ghana.

Domestic distribution: DMARC, Food Bank of Iowa, Boys and Girls Club, Zion Lutheran, Grimes UMC, The Cupboard Ankeny, Eddie Davis Center, Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico.


Defining hunger

  • Food insecurity: “The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”
  • Malnutrition: “Lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat.”
  • Starving: “Dying of hunger, deprived of food, undernourished, malnourished; very hungry, ravenous, famished, empty, hollow.”

– The Oxford Dictionary

When someone faces hunger, the ability to grow, work, study, play and thrive are greatly hindered. They may face death without proper nutrition.

“About 793 million people are undernourished globally, down 167 million over the last decade… But, in recent years progress has been hindered by slower and less inclusive economic growth as well as political instability in some developing regions, such as Central Africa and western Asia.”

– FAO, 2016.

There has been a significant decline in global hunger over the past couple of decades, but our work is not done. There are still people who need our help. And that’s why we need you to join the fight. Learn how you can get involved!

Consequences of hunger

According to WorldHunger.org, poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year.

Children growing up in food-insecure families are vulnerable to poor health and stunted development from the earliest stages of life. This hinders a child’s ability to participate fully in school and other activities.

Important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, even fats and carbohydrates are essential for a body’s ability to function at it’s fullest potential. According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition in all its forms increases the risk of disease and early death.

How to help

  • Volunteer. Help package delicious and nutritious meals year-round at Meals from the Heartland’s Patty Cownie Packaging Center in West Des Moines or at a location of your choice throughout Iowa. Thousands of volunteers from across the Midwest have come together to package nearly 65 million meals since 2008.
  • Donate or Fundraise. If packaging isn’t in your physical ability or time availability, an equally important force behind eliminating hunger is funding the cost of supplies and ingredients. Each of our meals cost just 20 cents and one full meal pack is $1.20, so every donation makes an impact on our ability to continue our mission.

Sources for current hunger facts and statistics