Iowa CommonGround Volunteers Participate in WHO's Annual Chocolate Breakfast
Everyone loves chocolate – but for breakfast? Some 7,000 people seemed to think it was the perfect way to start the day on Friday, January 27. They attended WHO's Annual Chocolate Breakfast at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in Des Moines, Iowa, from 5 to 9 a.m., and Iowa CommonGround volunteers were there, handing out samples of chocolate-covered soybeans and chocolate-drizzled popcorn.
New Iowa CommonGround volunteers Katie Olthoff from Stanhope and Stephanie Essick from Dickens were joined by veteran volunteer Sara Ross from Minden, and they were amazed by the large turn-out. They handed out about 400 CommonGround recyclable grocery bags in the first 45 minutes. In addition, Ross was interviewed by Channel 13 TV and Olthoff was interviewed by Van and Bonnoie on WHO radio, so the CommonGround message was heard by thousands of listeners and viewers.
“It was a great opportunity to visit with consumers,” says Ross. “We didn’t have a moment to rest – we just had a steady stream of people the entire time.”
“It made me proud to be a farmer,” adds Olthoff. “Many people mentioned they grew up on a farm, or their grandparents had a farm, but the general public is becoming further removed from agriculture. That’s why it’s so important for us to present the true picture of where their food comes from.”
This is the ninth year the event has been held – it originally took place in a hotel lobby but has since outgrown all but large venues. Participants included companies that specialize in chocolate candies, cakes, pies and cookies, as well as non-profit organizations like Common Ground, Boy Scouts and others.
“Events like WHO’s Chocolate Breakfast open the door for conversations about food,” says Essick. “We want consumers to have accurate information about agriculture, and what better source than from the people who grow the food? We’re moms, too, so we are just as concerned as urban moms about nutrition and safety.”
Iowa CommonGround is funded by America’s corn and soybean farmers and their checkoffs. Volunteers will participate in activities throughout the year, including the Des Moines Farmers’ Market, RAGBRAI and the Iowa State Fair.