HIAWATHA — A new refrigerated truck arrived at the HACAP Food Reservoir last week and was immediately put into operation for their mobile food distributions. The truck was funded through the Alliant Energy Foundation’s 2019 Drive Out Hunger event.
The truck is available at a critical time for residents of the Food Reservoir’s seven-county service area. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the Food Reservoir distributed a record-breaking 1.2 million pounds of food last month. The mobile pantries in Linn County alone quadrupled from their pre-coronavirus levels. Meeting the ongoing need will require vital resources such as the truck.
“The need to deliver more food has never been greater and another fleet vehicle will assist staff with transporting the products safely and efficiently,” said Leah Rodenberg Sr., Community Affairs Program Manager of the Alliant Energy Foundation.
Over the past 13 years, the Drive Out Hunger event has raised $4 million, or 14.8 million meals, for local families in Iowa and Wisconsin. The HACAP Food Reservoir has received $452,000 from the event proceeds since 2009.
“We couldn’t achieve the growth we’ve seen in the amount of food getting out into our community without our partners,” said Kim Guardado, Food Reservoir Director. “The need we’re seeing is overwhelming; we’re always trying to find more ways to get food out to those who need it and this new truck will make that a lot easier.”
Since March, food banks across Iowa had to change their operational model to protect public health and meet the growing need for food. HACAP’s mobile food pantries were quickly transitioned to a drive-through model with a distribution of pre-packed food boxes.
As unemployment numbers reach unprecedented levels and the underemployed population grows, the number of food-insecure individuals also will grow. Compounding this are the lack of free meals for children who are out of school and child care. HACAP Food Reservoir will continue to find ways to distribute needed nutrition at no cost, using public health best practices. When the drive-through model is no longer needed, the donated truck will transition to other uses.
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The HACAP Food Reservoir asks that everyone in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Johnson, Linn, and Washington counties join them in continuing to work together to solve hunger in their communities.