Mobile Food Pantry Program
What is a Mobile Food Pantry?
A Mobile Food Pantry is a program that enables pantries to extend their services by providing supplemental food service for those in need. A Mobile Food Pantry consists of products that are in excess in the Northeast Iowa Food Bank's warehouse at the time of delivery as well as specially ordered items.
- Expanded capacity
- Removal of barriers that prevent access to under-served areas
- Reduction of food waste
Starting the Mobile Food Pantry Program:
When looking at the reports for donated produce, we noticed that in 2008 there was 119,287 pounds of produce donated between July and December. In those same months during 2009, the number increased to 209,554 pounds of produce donated; this is a 76% increase. One can imagine that with that amount of an increase, something must be done to ensure that all of those perishable items are distributed efficiently. Luckily most of our member agencies are able to take small amounts of perishable items, however, between July and December of 2009, we had to throw away 11,799 pounds of produce.
In collaboration with communities in our 16-county service area, we have established eight sites which allow us to set up a Mobile Food Pantry and help us in connecting with clients. We continue to evaluate each site to gauge the estimated number of clients to be served at future distributions. This makes our truck stocking more accurate. Mobile Food Pantry sites could include, but are not limited to; local churches, community centers or other nonprofit agencies in the community. The key point is simply to get as much donated perishable product into the communities in need, while keeping the identity of all clients confidential. We also utilize local volunteers from the communities where the Mobile Food Pantry takes place.
Why did we originally focus this program in Grundy, Poweshiek, Clayton, Howard, Fayette and Bremer Counties?
The Food Bank looked at the percentage of pounds we distribute to the counties that we serve. We call this percentage “pound per person in poverty”. When looking at the individual counties, we saw that Grundy, Poweshiek, Clayton, Howard, Fayette and Bremer counties had the lowest percentage. Bringing a Mobile Food Pantry to these communities has increased this percentage as we look to meet the needs of those who are currently under-served. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank has and will continue to expand the program into other counties within our service area.
Upcoming Mobile Food Pantries
-1st Wednesday of the month - The Community Center, Malcom: 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
-1st Thursday of the month - New Life Assembly of God, Manchester: 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
-1st Saturday of the month - First Lutheran Church, Cresco: 10:00 a.m. - Noon
-2nd Tuesday of the month - Boyd Community Building, Shell Rock: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
-2nd Tuesday of the month - Vineyard Community Church, Waverly: 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
-2nd Saturday of the month - Valleyview Community Wesleyan Church, West Union: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
-3rd Thursday of the month - First United Methodist Church, New Hampton: 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
-3rd Saturday of the month - St. Johns Lutheran Church, Guttenberg: 10:00 a.m. - Noon
-4th Thursday of the month - Faith United Church of Christ, Tripoli: 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
-4th Saturday of the month - American Lutheran Church, Grundy Center: 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
-4th Saturday of the month - Living Water Church, Independence: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
For additional information about the Mobile Food Pantry program, contact Alisha Rulapaugh at (319) 235-0507.
If you are interested in volunteering for this program, contact Patrick Bird at (319) 235-0507.