Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is a leading provider of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and rural residents across Nebraska, Iowa, and several other states. FCSAmerica and its employees also are dedicated to enriching the rural communities where they live and work. The cooperative’s support of the Food Bank is a resounding testament to this dedication.
“Our pillars of giving include hunger and nutrition,” said Jessica Strohman, community relations manager at FCSAmerica. “We support initiatives that help with the fight against hunger, whether it’s through volunteer efforts, monetary donations, or food rescue.”
To assist in those efforts, FCSAmerica joined forces with Food Bank for the Heartland in 2013 to send the Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry Program to additional communities with a high need but limited food sources. These one-day distributions are free and include a variety of shelf-stable and perishable products.
The partnership was a perfect fit for both organizations. FCSAmerica, with 48 local offices in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, serves many of the same rural communities supported by the Food Bank. Each can draw on its resources to jointly combat hunger in areas which are considered food deserts, Strohman said: “It’s a natural partnership.”
“Nobody should have to go to bed hungry. It’s why we support the Food Bank and a lot of smaller, rural food pantries. Getting food to individuals who otherwise lack accessibility is important to us. We are here to strengthen and support rural communities.”
FCSAmerica sponsors, on average, eight mobile pantries each year. The cooperative handles all aspects of the mobile pantry, including unloading trucks and distributing community packs. Through the partnership, FCSAmerica has distributed more than 485,000 pounds of food and served nearly 50 rural communities.
This partnership has created a level of trust in the community by continuing to serve neighbors with dignity and respect. Lea Frank, Manager of Network and Community Support at the Food Bank says, “I’ve had the privilege of meeting over 100 of their employees. They all truly care about people and their communities. They pride themselves on knowing families’ names, showing support in a humble way, and work hard to create a caring and accepting atmosphere during the mobiles.”
The partnership has also made a lasting impact on employees, Strohman said: “Teammates reach out and say, ‘When’s the next mobile pantry? What can we do to help?’ They appreciate the opportunity to serve our local communities, regardless of how far they may need to travel. They want to get the job done.”
FCSAmerica supports the Food Bank’s mission in a variety of other ways. In fiscal year 2022, nearly 175 employees volunteered over 430 hours in the Food Bank’s Volunteer Center. FCSAmerica also supported the Food Bank’s recent Shine the Light on Hunger campaign with a $100,000 matching gift. “When we’re able to join forces with other organizations, it makes the donation even more impactful,” Strohman said.
Despite everything the organization has accomplished for neighbors in need, Strohman said FCSAmerica recognizes the fight against hunger is far from over: “Being a company owned by farmers and ranchers, the focus is feeding the world.”