Food pantries ramp up to serve residents

Posted 4/8/20

Local food pantries are ramping up their efforts to assist residents during this time when many people have been forced to stay at home.

On Saturday, the city of Kalona held its own pop-up food …

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Food pantries ramp up to serve residents

Posted

Local food pantries are ramping up their efforts to assist residents during this time when many people have been forced to stay at home.

On Saturday, the city of Kalona held its own pop-up food pantry outside the city shop on A Avenue.

“I was surprised,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “We had 60-plus cars and a lot of households with five or six people come.”

He said that about three pallets of food were distributed on Saturday morning.

Some of the food was donated to the effort by the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Tyson and the Mid-Prairie Feed the Kids program.

Schlabaugh said that the city also purchased some food from the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program.

With the success of Saturday’s pop-up food pantry, additional ones are in the works.

“We are definitely looking to do something again,” Schlabaugh said.

This Saturday, the Kalona Food Pantry will be distributing vouchers.

“Normally, we have people come and pick up food, and we give them a voucher for perishable items that can be used the same day at JW’s,” Kalona Food Pantry Coordinator Barb Brenneman said. “This Saturday, for safety reasons, we’ll just give out double vouchers worth $40 that can be used at JW’s Saturday or Monday.

“We will also give out a voucher from Brenneman Pork that can be used for fresh pork products at JW’s.”

The Kalona Food Pantry distributes food on the second and fourth Saturdays of the Month at Gospel Light Fellowship, 401 E Ave. (Highway 22).

The pantry serves residents of the Mid-Prairie school district.

Brenneman said anyone not already registered with the food pantry should bring a utility bill showing their physical address within the school district and a photo ID.

Brenneman said that numbers were down at the last distribution day.

They normally serve 40-50 people, but only 33 came on March 28.

She expects that number to climb this month as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic grow.

“We’ll see where we are at the end of April,” she said.

In Wellman, the food pantry does a distribution once a month on the first Saturday at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Wellman Food Pantry Coordinator Lori Reece said that they served 54 people on Saturday.

“Our numbers usually run 45 to 55 people,” Reece said. “We weren’t sure what to expect. I’m thinking next time it will be higher.”

The volunteers at the Wellman Food Pantry adjusted their usual procedure for distribution on Saturday.

“We had pre-packaged bags with general items,” Reece said. “People could drive up and stay in their cars, and volunteers handed them their food.”

The next distribution day at the Wellman pantry is Saturday, May 2.

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