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Nearly 200 food boxes distributed in Kalona

Kalona City Council member Craig Spitzer helps organize food boxes at the city of Kalona’s pop-up food pantry on Wednesday. (James Jennings/The Union)
Kalona City Council member Craig Spitzer helps organize food boxes at the city of Kalona’s pop-up food pantry on Wednesday. (James Jennings/The Union)

Some residents of northern Washington County got a Thanksgiving boost courtesy of the city of Kalona.

The city distributed nearly 200 boxes of food at a pop-up food pantry at the city shop the day before Thanksgiving.

“It went very well,” Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “It showed that there’s still a real need for those who have food insecurity, especially during the holidays.”

He estimated that they handed out between 12,000 and 13,000 pounds of food.

“That’s a lot for us to go through,” Schlabaugh said.

The pop-up pantry was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and vehicles began lining up early at the city shop.

“We decided to start a little early because people were lined up,” Schlabaugh said.

The city partnered with the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) to provide the bulk of the food that was distributed.

The city also purchased items from JW’s Foods and other vendors and received a donation of 210 dozen eggs from Farmers Hen House.

Schlabaugh said that there was still some food left over after Wednesday’s pop-up pantry.

“We did a few deliveries on Thursday and Friday for people who couldn’t make it on Wednesday,” he said. “I expect we’ll go through all of the food this weekend.”

Schlabaugh said that the city is already looking into doing another pop-up pantry around Christmas.

“There are tentatively some dates we’re throwing around as a group,” he said.

He added that there are some businesses who have expressed an interest in doing more pop-up pantries in early 2021.

The city did several similar pop-up pantries in the spring at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We’ll present it to council,” Schlabaugh said. “I think we can do something with the donations that have already come in and those that are committed.”