HACAP Mobile Food Pantry sees success in first year

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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – In just a year, the HACAP Mobile Food Pantry served more than 200,000 meals across more than 6,000 households. It started in June of 2016 with only two stops a month. Now it’s up to more than 20 stops in more than six counties.

“Food insecurity is something, it’s occurring in our communities,” Food Reservoir Director Linda Gorkow said. “Instead of going where we’re not needed, we’re in an area where we compliment it.”

The truck works with local pantries to find the best time and place to prevent duplicating services. Mobile Food Pantry Coordinator Bob Andrlik packs up the truck and then heads to a site.

Wednesday, the pantry was in Marion Village. Volunteers meet Andrlik at the site to help set up.

“Volunteers are essential, the folks that are helping me at those locations, and hosting the mobile pantry at those locations, are wonderful people and we couldn’t do it without them. It takes a lot of hands to make this work,” Andrlik said.

Then the community can come in and pick and choose as they please.

“No ID is needed, they self-declare that they’re in need of food, and they go shopping,” Gorkow said.

“You have a lot of diverse people coming into the pantry. You have families with young children, people on fixed incomes, people with disabilities,” Andrlik said. “Everywhere from people with walkers, to people who are just in need of the extra food because the jobs that they’re working don’t provide them with the money to purchase the food that they need. Everybody needs to eat and that’s what our goal is, to get that food to them.”

In the next year, the mobile pantry hopes to continue to add spots as needed. The goal is to have four stops each month in every county it serves. For the September schedule, visit this website.