Coralville food pantry celebrates new location, donors

Old post office building still not permanent solution

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CORALVILLE — The Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry has a new home in an old building.

Last month, the food pantry moved into Coralville’s old post office building at 420 Tenth Ave. To celebrate their new, larger space, workers have planned an event Thursday to thank organizations that donated about $50,000 worth of labor and materials with a tour and awards.

John Boller, the pantry’s executive director, said the new space is not only larger but in a better location. He said because of its improved location, clients’ access, as well as the pantry’s visibility, increases.

“The general public is more aware of who we are and where we’re located,” Boller said. “The visibility factor is huge.”

Boller said the post office building is located between two bus stops, each two blocks away, and is around neighborhoods where many clients live.

The food pantry’s original location was at New Life Community Church, which Boller said it had outgrown. Although Boller said the first few weeks after the pantry began operating out of the new space were tough because some people might have gone to the old location, he’s heard mostly a positive reaction from clients.

Steve Hanisch, carpentry instructor at Kirkwood Community College, said his students helped with some of the carpentry work that turned the post office into a food pantry. He said Kirkwood also used its professional connections to get companies to donate other services and materials.

“I think that this reflects very well on the organizations, on the food bank, on the city of Coralville,” said Hanisch. “I think that speaks very highly of the community and how people value service in the community.”

Kirkwood is one of the organizations that is set to be honored during the event Thursday. The city of Coralville and various companies — Bachmeier Carpet One, Bea Day Plumbers and Advanced Electrical Services — are to be recognized as well.

Although the food bank is now set up and operating out of the old post office, it isn’t meant to be the pantry’s permanent space. The city expressed interest in developing the area, including the city-owned old post office building.

Boller said the pantry hopes to find permanent building in the same area but hopefully with more space and an area to garden.

“We want to be in a similar area of town. We want to be close to the heart of Coralville,” said Boller.

The food pantry is open from 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to noon Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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