Washington County residents needing a little extra help filling their freezer received just that as the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) Mobile Food Pantry made stops at the United Presbyterian Church in Washington as well as Brighton City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Bob Andrlik has been driving the pantry to 22 locations within seven counties since April 2016. He visits each county once a month.
The pantry is specifically designed for the purpose of delivering food with refrigerators and freezers inside to prevent food from spoiling before it gets to consumers.
“It’s one way to get extra food into the county,” he said. “Our barriers are extremely low. They just have to come in and say they need the food and we accept that. It’s just another way to get food into towns.”
Andrlik said numbers vary, but he says he averages seeing 120-140 people a week. The food provided is all donated or purchased with donations to HACAP and what food is brought to each location is determined by the demographics of the stop.
Danielle Petit-Majewski sits on the HACAP board and helped with the organization and unloading of the truck at the UP Church. She said the pantry has been coming to Washington County since June 2017.
She said the amount of food everyone receives depends on the number of people who come to the event. It is set up for everyone to receive at least one item but they continue to give out food until they run out.
“It’s been a really great partnership,” she said.
The kinds of food are determined according to the demographics of the areas and who is coming to receive food. The options range from pasta to cereal to fruit snacks for families with children.
“A lot of it’s donated but we can buy it a lot cheaper if you donate directly to our food reservoir in Hiawatha,” she said. “Basically every dollar helps us buy about $12 worth of food.”
Petit-Majewski said donating and helping out the food insecure in the area is important because it affects everyone and improves quality of lives overall.
“We all do better when everyone does better,” she said.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Danielle Petit-Majewski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-653-7758 ext. 109. To support the HACAP mobile food pantry, donations can be made online at www.feedingamerica.org.