Friday was a gray and gloomy day in Mason City, Iowa but some of my local blogging buddies definitely brightened up my day and their actions will brighten the days of others in our area.
We took a field trip to Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank located at 122 S Adams Street in Mason City to drop off our trunkfuls of food and cash donations that the bloggers and their readers had collected during November. It was a fun morning for all of us and volunteer Ozzie Ohl was the consummate host and gave the gals a great tour with a great narrative of the history of the food bank. At this drop off we donated 235 pounds of food and $200 to Hawkeye Harvest. Previous donations had also been made as well as donations to the Franklin County Food Pantry.
You might recall that I did a post earlier this fall about Hawkeye Harvest and how this all volunteer run operation operates is amazing. Ozzie answered a few questions for me on the blog earlier and here are just a couple that will help you understand just what this fabulous operation does for our area.
- What is your job with the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank and how long have you been associated with it? I am one of eighty volunteers. None of us really have a job— it is more a way for many people to share their time,talents or treasures. Currently my main focus is to help tell our story to the general public,help out with special events in the community and try to raise money.
2. What does the food bank do–who do you serve and how does it all work? Do people come in and pick out food or do you deliver it to sites –how does it all work?
We are the largest all volunteer food bank served by the Food Bank of Iowa. We collect food through donations and purchase food and non essentials.
With our new location clients will actually be able to come in and go with a client helper and pick out the food they want and will use. In our old location volunteers made up the boxes for the clients to pick up. Everything was predetermined and packed up according to the size of the family and what we had on hand. Now with client choice, everyone will get a shopping cart to go around the room and actually pick out their own preferences from a certain amount of meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned soup, tomato products, pasta, peanut butter, mac and cheese along with extras, non essential products such as toilet paper, bar soap and other items. They will also be able to choose items from the produce case, bread and baked goods. The quantities they receive is still predetermined by the size of their family. We provide enough emergency food to make meals for four days. Last year our food bank provided enough food to make over 200,000 meals to help feed almost 17,000 people. Those we serve come from 42 different communities within the twelve county area surrounding Mason City.
3. Where does the food come from that you are able to distribute? The majority of the food we purchase from the Food Bank of Iowa since we are able to buy that for 14 cents a pound. We also buy food and non perishable items from our local grocery stores. Hy Vee East donates their day old bread and baked goods to us. As a partner with Community Kitchen we share twice weekly collections from Target and WalMart through their partnership agreement with Feeding America. Our volunteers pick this up every day Monday through Saturday. The remaining food comes to us from local individual and family donations plus community wide food drives held by schools, businesses, churches and other organizations.One of the things that Ozzie is excited about now is the fact that they are “competing” to win $20,000 through the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover being sponsored by Walmart. Anyone can vote daily through December 12th and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Hawkeye Harvest walked away with a pile of cash to help purchase a much needed vehicle? I know it would make Ozzie’s day. Probably his year.
To vote just click here to go directly to this page:
Once you are on this screen simply click on the VOTE button under Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank and you are done. Click the SHARE button to encourage all your friends to do the same.
It really does not take a lot to make a difference and this is one place that I fully support. All volunteer run, determined to help those who need emergency food without judgment—Hawkeye Harvest has won my heart and I am so happy to have been able to be a very tiny part of the effort to help those who are hungry in our area. All it takes is a small donation or a click on your computer screen to make a difference and be the ripple.
If you missed my book giveaway post please click here to go directly to the post that features a children’s book and an adult novel both written by my friend, “Cotton” Ketchie. All you have to do is leave a comment on that post and you are entered into the giveaway. You don’t want to miss this one.