The River Bend Food Bank’s community partnerships have never been as important as they have been this year. In the face of turmoil, friends in all forms stepped up, and River Bend Food Bank is sincerely thankful.

We’ve had families host special fundraisers, employees from companies across the region volunteer, and thousands more gave for the first time, or the 10th time, in support of River Bend Food Bank’s mission. The community was an integral link in the chain that helped nearly 160,000 people in need in 2020.

Due to the pandemic and economic downturn, the Food Bank’s capacity is being tested, as we experience spikes in food costs, supply chain disruptions, and limitations for volunteer support, all while the number of people facing hunger climbed.

For several years, the Food Bank has been positioning itself to grow to meet an increased need and sustain it, all with the long-term goal to eliminate hunger in our region. Careful planning and strategic support from funders like the John Deere Foundation allowed us to build our capacity and to enhance programs and food distribution, all of which proved critical in 2020.

“The River Bend Food Bank started in 1982 with help from John Deere in response to the farm crisis,” said Nate Clark, president of the John Deere Foundation. “Since then, John Deere employees have joined many in the community as donors, volunteers and board members, all with one goal in mind—ending food insecurity in our home community.”

Over the past 18 months, the generosity of over 480 foundations, corporations, and community organizations has helped build the Food Bank’s infrastructure and laid a foundation for the future—we thank these partners for their transformational gifts:

  • The John Deere Foundation
  • Regional Development Authority
  • Scott County Regional Authority
  • Hubbell-Waterman Foundation
  • Alliant Energy Foundation
  • Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
  • Albertsons Companies Foundation
  • The Moline Foundation

River Bend Food Bank wouldn’t be able to grow to meet future needs without help from our friends in the community. Over 1,000 employees from John Deere, Exelon, MidAmerican Energy, and other companies, along with other generous donors, have given the Food Bank the ability to persist through the challenges of 2020 and fueled our momentum to push forward.

“The obstacles organizations like River Bend Food Bank face must seem insurmountable in these times, but they continue to drive forward,” said Jeremy Hammer, a John Deere employee and UAW Local 281’s community services chairman. “I may volunteer and do what I can to help raise funds for these efforts, but the commitment it takes from the people that work at River Bend is what keeps me out there helping.” Learn more about John Deere employees who volunteer with the Food Bank

In the coming year, the Food Bank will launch a client empowerment program—funded in part by personal donations from John Deere’s leadership team, and by opening more food distribution “hubs” in high-need areas. These steps will help the Food Bank provide enough food for everyone in need in the 23-county service area every year going forward.

Mike Miller, president and CEO of River Bend Food Bank, thanked all the organization’s supporters.

“Your response has been both astounding and heartwarming,” Miller said. “Five months of record distributions and a total of 20 million meals have only been possible with your support. Our costs have skyrocketed, and the challenge of the current situation has stretched us to our limits, but we are humbled and encouraged by your commitment to this cause.”