IOWA CITY — At a time when most are busy outside or on vacation, an area food pantry wants to remind residents that it’s still in need of donations with its Thanksgiving in July food drive.
The Crisis Center of Johnson County is hoping to raise $30,000 in July to carry its pantry through the months with the fewest donations and pad a time of year when there’s more demand thanks to students not receiving free or reduced lunches such as during the school year.
“Everything that we bring in really helps to get us to the holiday season,” said Sara Sedlacek, communications and development director. “People are on vacation and they’re not thinking about it and kids aren’t going to school.
“My kids aren’t even in school and I find that I pay attention to less over the summer because you’re outside, you’re doing stuff. It’s a time to be more active.”
In Johnson County, about 4,000 students are food insecure and may not have a guaranteed meal each day like they would in school. That is equivalent to roughly eight elementary schools being filled with students who are dealing with food insecurity, according to a media release from the Crisis Center.
“We really just want to stay top of mind for people,” Sedlacek said. “There is no summer break from hunger.”
During Thanksgiving in July, the center hopes to collect both food and monetary donations. Sedlacek said, however, it’s easier for the center to get a better value on the foods it purchases than just the general public.
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People who want to donate can drop food or money off at Hills Bank locations as well as make donations on the Crisis Center’s website, jccrisiscenter.org.
Last year, Thanksgiving in July raised $33,000 in addition to food donations.
“It’s really important that we are able to keep our shelves stocked and the best way for us to do that is to raise money,” Sedlacek said.
Thanksgiving in July isn’t the only initiate the Crisis Center is undertaking this summer. Each year the organization has a Fan Club, which provides fans to low-income families to help them stay cool for the summer.
The food pantry also plans to debut its new warehouse in August. The space is expected to allow 15 to 20 additional pallets of food and include an expanded food repacking room, cooler storage for fresh produce, a 24-hour donation drop off and an additional restroom.
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