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Milestones' 'March For Meals' campaign targeting growing food insecurity for older Iowans

Last year, Milestones delivered nearly 300,000 meals to 17 eastern Iowa counties.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — There is a growing concern over food insecurity for older Iowans. Home meal deliveries increased substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Milestones Area Agency on Aging, serving meals Monday through Friday to those in need is their top priority. 

Volunteer driver Dennis Butler has been delivering meals out of the goodness of his heart for 13 years. 

"That gives my heart joy to be able to give back and help others," Butler said.

On Tuesday, he delivered Davenport. Many of his meals go to people he delivers to regularly. These visits bring more than just a meal.

"I've grown to have a relationship, not with just my clients, but with their children," Butler said. "You might find someone that's haven't seen anybody all week. I might be that only contact that they seen that week."

It has been economically challenging for Milestones with rising food costs and pandemic funding no longer available.

"What happened during COVID is that increase for the home-delivered meals really skyrocketed on us," Marketing Coordinator Mike Mathews said.

About 40% of funding for Milestones comes from the Older Americans Act, with some additional funding from the state. The bulk of its balance comes from private contributions. 

According to Mathews, the number of meals being delivered every day is up over 70% compared to pre-pandemic.

If you would like to donate to Milestones, a link is attached here.

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