The Ron Paul presidential campaign and other volunteers collected nearly 400 pounds of food in a weekend drive in the Des Moines suburbs, said Joel Kurtinitis, a district director for the campaign.
About 25 volunteers delivered 2,000 plastic bags (donated by Hy-Vee) to homes in Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines over the weekend. On Monday, they collected the bags that had been filled.
"We feel like this is a major success for our district," said Kurtinitis. "Not only did we get a good response from folks willing to donate food, but we also had some good conversations with friends and neighbors and were able to spread Ron Paul's message that families, churches, and communities need to step up so that government can step out.
"Iowans are generous people, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with our own neighborhoods and communities to give to those in need," he said.
Food stuffs from the federal government -- canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, whole grain pasta, etc. -- accounts for about 34 percent of the food that the Food Bank of Iowa distributes, said Carey Miller, executive director of the organization.
"It would be a huge loss," said Miller. "You cannot make that up in donations and we certainly do not have the funds to purchase that product."
Miller said the food bank serves 42 counties in Iowa, working through not-for-profit groups, to feed about 97,000 families a year.
The Des Moines Area Religious Council operates several food pantries. Area churches provide much of the food, volunteers and monetary donations that keep those pantries running.
And although private donations of food and money have increased, it's still not enough to keep up with the demand, according to the Food Bank.
If government were to get out of the business of using food subsidies to feed the hungry "it would have a significant impact," said Miller.