New Mobile Pantry making a difference for one small town in SW Iowa
The Hamburg Interchurch Council, located in Hamburg, Iowa, kicked off its partnership with Food Bank for the Heartland with a mobile pantry distribution August 31. They had a better-than-expected turnout, with 64 households (171 people) being served. Approximately 14 volunteers assisted with the distribution, along with one SNAP outreach volunteer. The order was about 4500 pounds of food, including a pallet of melons, and most of it was distributed.
Volunteers said the food was “a blessing” and were very appreciative of the Food Bank for the Heartland and AmeriCorps. When they saw my VISTA shirt with the AmeriCorps logo on the sleeve, they asked if I knew the AmeriCorps volunteers who had come to help during the flooding crisis in 2011. Clearly, AmeriCorps makes a difference in Hamburg!
One client told me that she was very grateful for the food because her husband had been injured and couldn’t work, and she couldn’t either. She said that they were trying to make it on just Social Security and SNAP, and that it just wasn’t enough for all their needs. The food helped stretch their money just a bit more for the next month.
Multiple volunteers mentioned to me that elderly people in the community were “too proud to come in here”, and one volunteer expressed her happiness and surprise that some of these people did end up coming to the distribution. The group also planned to deliver food to the senior housing areas eventually, as part of their distribution process.
It was exciting for me to see the results of my work to help the Hamburg Interchurch Council get their pantry kick-started. I helped schedule the mobile, created the order, created fliers, and answered many questions as they got going. The Council did a fantastic job at the mobile, and I’m certain they will continue to do well. I am proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing the way they’ll care for Hamburg’s hungry.
Hamburg is just one example of how a small town, devastated by its circumstances, can learn to work together to solve its problems. I have seen how small towns across Iowa and Nebraska have been able to better care for their hungry residents through partnering with each other and with the Food Bank for the Heartland. Together, we can solve hunger!
Written by Annaleah Moore, AmeriCorps VISTA Member serving at Food Bank for the Heartland.