DES MOINES - Imagine sitting down to a modest portion of peanut butter stew with textured soy protein and vegetables or venison goulash with noodles as your only meal of the day.
How about other portion-controlled meal choices such as Bosnian soup with canned turkey and a side of bread, or tuna salad on lettuce with a side of fruit to provide a daily 400-calorie intake?
Those will be the menu options when more than 400 Iowans gather Oct. 13 for the Iowa Hunger Summit - an event sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation, which was created three years ago to focus attention on efforts to combat hunger in Iowa and around the world. The four meals are used by Iowa-based programs in their international or domestic hunger-alleviating work.
Organizers hope the event will give attendees a "taste" of Iowa's hunger-fighting effort by serving them a scaled-back lunch selection offering about 400 calories in nourishment, which many people around the world live on daily.
"The idea behind those meals is to give normal Iowans sort of a feel for what it might be like to be dependent on various forms of food aid," foundation spokesman Justin Cremer said. "We hope it gets them thinking about what their life would be like if this was what they were dependent on for their daily meals."
During the daylong event, organizers will announce Iowa's total annual statewide contribution to the cause of fighting domestic and international hunger. Iowans donated $6.49 million during the 2007-08 period - more than 17.2 million pounds of food and more than 438,000 volunteer hours.
Organizers also said that recent studies indicated 351,000 Iowans experience "low food security" - the occasional or recurrent lack of adequate, safe and nutritious food.
The Iowa Hunger Summit was created to promote local hunger-fighting efforts and connect Iowans to both United Nations World Food Day and Dr. Norman E. Borlaug/World Food Prize Day in Iowa on Oct. 16. Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and native Iowan, died earlier this month.
"Iowa has a long history of helping those in need," said former ambassador Kenneth Quinn, the president of the World Food Prize Foundation. "Communities have pulled together to ensure that our food banks can support families in need due to natural disasters or the impact of the economic crisis."
"The Iowa Hunger Summit shines a light on the serious issue of hunger in our state, around the country and across the globe, and highlights the various efforts of Iowans to combat these problems," he added.
The luncheon's keynote address will be delivered by Vicki Escarra, the president and chief executive officer of Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-fighting charity. Also, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is slated to lead a workshop titled "Iowa Feeding the World."
The Iowa Hunger Summit is free and open to the public. Registration is available at www.iowahungersummit.org.