I’ll never forget the first time I witnessed Freezin’ For Food happening up close. It was late November or the very beginning of December in 2012. I was just about to leave my job with the HON company to start working for the radio stations here in Muscatine. I drove my Dodge Charger (don’t judge me–I liked the car, but I love my Toyota Sienna) out to the Hy-Vee parking lot to see the food drive as it was happening. There’s something special about watching a community rally together and over the course of one week fill an entire Tan Tara Transportation Corporation semi truck trailer full of food.
I really enjoyed the five years I spent literally freezing for food and broadcasting from the truck. The first day of each year is always the most daunting, as you open the doors to an empty semi truck and wonder if the donations will come in this year.
Folks, the COVID-19 pandemic at one point this spring had wiped out the entire food pantry at The Salvation Army in Muscatine. Maybe you recall seeing pictures of empty shelves. The Pandemic Pantry was born out of the minds of Dave Riggan and Joey Krieger. We were able to restock the pantry and to meet the needs of our community.
It’s time to do that once again this week! As you’re reading this column, the truck is in the Hy-Vee parking lot awaiting your generosity. You can purchase pre-prepared bags of food from Hy-Vee (and Fareway this year, which is really cool) and help fill the truck. Think of it this way, your donation will go onto the truck and directly into the hands of someone in need in your own town. It’s the immediate local impact that keeps me motivated to personally be involved with this drive.
I should also mention that 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Two Weeks of Love. The idea originated in Clinton, and it was DeWayne Hopkins who brought it to Muscatine, thanks to his friends Doug Krieger and Mike Riggan.
I always said filling the truck with food only happens when individuals take action. So please, don’t think that this year we can rely only on the support of our businesses to make donations. We need you! This is a great way to teach your children about the importance of giving back. Let the kids pick up a couple of the pre-prepared bags and walk them out to the truck. Better yet, join us this Saturday to help unload the food donations at The Salvation Army. Check social media for the exact time, but folks, we always need help doing that!
Here’s what I know–the thought of Muscatine residents going hungry makes me angry. I then harness that anger and use it to keep myself motivated to help push this wonderful community effort. Please, please, please give what you can this year. Even if that’s just sharing a post on social media or donating a single can of food, or ringing the bell for the Salvation Army (RegisterToRing.com for that). Together, we will do the most good and #RescueChristmas for those in need. Thank you in advance and let’s fill the truck!