Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
KALONA - After providing free food to community members in need for almost a year, the future of the Kalona pop-up pantry will be discussed during a Monday City Council meeting.
The pop-up food pantry is a collaboration between Wellman, Riverside, Kalona and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program to provide food to those in the community who may have been experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said the pantry started because the City Council wanted to take an active role in helping the community.
HACAP provided most of the food, but the council was able to use city funds to supplement additional items.
He said because of the way HACAP is donated food, they may have a lot of spaghetti but not sauce.
'We tried to fill in those gaps,” he said.
The food was donated from other organizations such as Farmer's Hen House, Freeman Foods, Brenneman Pork and more.
The first pantry took place on April 4 in a drive-through format. There were seven pallets of food from HACAP, Riverside Casino & Golf Resort and Tyson foods. A variety of foods were offered, and it was open to anyone.
'Cheerios, pasta, beans, gardetta's, 4 cases of honey crisp apple slices, 2 cases of fresh sliced mushrooms, canned pears, canned tuna, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, tomato sauce, dried beans, 8 boxes of assorted breads,” according to a post on the city's Facebook page.
The turnout was overwhelming, Schlabaugh said.
At the beginning, the city didn't know what to expect. He said having 20 to 40 cars lined up 45 minutes before the distribution showed the council had identified a need.
'You want it to be utilized, and it was,” he said.
Schlabaugh said the city has held panty's every month, sometimes every other week.
Food was not the only item available as time went on, donations for diapers and formula expanded the options for those in need.
He said the city was proud of the support from community organizations.
Other food programs the city added included a senior food bag delivery program and hot meal delivery service for seniors, Schlabaugh said.
Since the creation of these programs, the city has given out more than 1,300 hot meals, 700 senior food bags and over 1,200 pop-up pantry boxes, Schlabaugh said.
On Monday, the city council will discuss the future of the programs.