Childhood Hunger Service Project Committee

“When I think of the heartland of the United States, I immediately think of Nebraska, Iowa, and the rest of the nation's Corn Belt. It is inconceivable that anyone would be hungry in our nation's breadbasket. Yet statistics show that our major cities and rural communities have food insecure households where kids don't know when or where they will receive their next meal. Some of our schools have more than 95% of their students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

That's why it's important for Kiwanis - whose focus is on kids - to take a leading role in combating ‘Hunger in the Heartland’. These kids are our future and our goal is that every kid wakes up in an environment where they feel happy, healthy, safe, and loved. That starts with good nutrition. Please join in the several programs to defeat Hunger in the Heartland."              

Quote from Jim Dane, Nebraska-Iowa District Governor 2016-2017

"This year--2017-2018--we are observing our 5th year of focusing on childhood hunger in our district. As our defining statement says, we are about "improving the world one child and one community at a time." This requires that in order to accomplish our goal to alleviate childhood hunger across Nebraska and Iowa, we need to begin by asking 4 questions: 1) What's already happening in our community? 2) How can our Kiwanis club help? 3) What isn't happening in our community that needs to be? 4) What can our Kiwanis Club do about it? 


The resources available in this webpage will help you accomplish those special projects that need to be attended to in your community. Your Lt. Governor also has this material in a 3-ring binder that s/he would love to share with you. S/he also has a copy of the resource set, Hunger in the Heartland, which has a 30-minute documentary with it that would be great as a club program. Segments of it can be used as a discussion starter or illustration for a presentation.


The members of the committee are: Bob and Marvel Dunaway (Urbandale Club) and Phil and Diana Sickles. Contact me with any questions or suggestions at:

Message from Diana Sickles, Co-Chair Childhood Hunger Service Project


The Childhood Hunger Service Project Committee is focused on engaging the clubs within the NE-IA District to join the effort of working to alleviate childhood hunger.

Childhood Hunger

Hunger affects everyone, but it is especially harmful for children. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life beginning at conception is the most critical time for development of the mind and body, and lack of proper nutrition has lifelong consequences. Access to adequate and nutritious food (food security) is a basic requirement for children to be able to live up to their full potential. When a child doesn’t receive proper nutrition it impedes their ability to learn, grow and engage. Poor nutrition has an immediate effect on a child’s health and academic achievement. When a child is hungry it is harder for them to concentrate and stay awake during class. Some of the short and long term health effects include headaches, iron deficiency, poor dental health, weak bones, obesity, delayed sexual maturity and overall stunting of both mind and body. Children who are food insecure can experience behavioral problems while in school such as anxiety, aggression and mood swings.


Committee Goals for the District

  1. Educate every club on how they can learn more about and get involved with:
    • Service projects promoted by Kiwanis: Red Barrel Program, Slow cooker and Fresh Veggie Classes, Food Bank’s BackPack Program
    • A Garden for Every School (AGES)
    • Hunger in the Heartland Resource Set
    • Young Children: Priority One/First 1,000 Days
  2. Have every club designate a childhood hunger leader
  3. Find other passionate people to join our committee
  4. Establish a speakers bureau

Available Resources:


              Red Barrel Project

Slow Cooker Project

AGES Project

Backpack Project Veggie Kits Project YCPO Brochure




First 1000 Days:  Healthy Start Hunger in the Heartland A Moment on Hunger




"Hunger in the Heartland":

A Resource Guide for Alleviating Hunger in Your Community, No Matter Where You Live" by Debra Landwehr Engle and Rachel Vogel Quinn

A 120-page resource guide and companion DVD designed to be used by individuals or groups to inspire, inform, and assist in discovering ways to alleviate hunger in your community. Section titles Hunger and Nutrition, The Face of Hunger, The ABCs of Alleviating Hunger, Rescuing Food and Land, and Bringing it All Together show the depth and breadth the guide provides for those who want to help alleviate hunger. The companion 30-minute DVD provides a visual of stories contained in the resource guide. It is an excellent resource for a club program. The resource guide and DVD can be accessed through Amazon or by contacting Diana Sickles at

“It is unconscionable and inexcusable that in Iowa and Nebraska we have children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A stomach filled with nutritious food enables a child to concentrate in school. When you feed a stomach, you feed a brain. As members of Kiwanis, a service organization that focuses on children, we have a responsibility to respond in whatever ways we can to make sure all of our children have enough food to eat 365 days a year. If we do nothing else, we must do this.”   - quote from Jody Melcher

Divisions 13 and 16 in metro-Des Moines hosted these 

Healthy Baby Showers.

Click to Review Final Report

Updated 05-29-2018