MUSCATINE, Iowa–For 19 years, Freezing for Food has kept the Salvation Army of Muscatine County’s food pantry filled and area residents fed for an entire year. As efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have lead to furloughs and layoffs, many more families have required food assistance than usual. In only four and a half months, the Salvation Army has used up all its food. The Muscatine Food Bank at Muscatine Center for Social Action, and the food pantry at Pearl City Outreach have also experienced a jump in demand in the last two months.
Concerned that the food pantry could not even get through another week, Salvation Army Lieutenant Greg Bock contacted Joey Krieger and Dave Riggan, to ask if they could help set up an additional food drive this year. They leapt into action, quickly mobilizing Pandemic Pantry.
Through May 22, Riggan, owner of TanTara Transportation Corporation, will park the iconic Hawkeye Hauler at Blain’s Farm and Fleet, Fareway, and Hy-Vee. While at these locations, people may donate unopened non-perishable food they have or money, purchase in store food bags and carry them out to the truck, or contact one of the participating stores for information on how to donate no contact “virtual bags,” which store employees will carry out for them.
Your donations will prove vitally important. Krieger, who has helped organize groups of employees from Krieger’s of Muscatine to help staff the truck, shared that last week, Bock called him and asked if he could pick up food from the truck that day as he believed the pantry would completely run out. Later, Bock added that he hoped the drive could bring in enough food to stock the pantry for the next 60 days and to help fill the shelves of the Muscatine Food Bank and Pearl City Outreach’s pantry as well.
So far, residents from across Muscatine have rallied to the cause and begun making generous donations to Pandemic Pantry, making sizable donations of food and money over the past week. Employees of both Fareway and Hy-Vee have also come together, making sure the donation process works smoothly. “The really cool thing about this partnership is that both companies were able to bring back some furloughed employees to work the food drive,” said Bock in a release to the media. “We are ecstatic to be a part of such a giving community, where we can come together to help our neighbors during difficult times.”
If you would like to know where to bring a donation of food or money to the Hawkeye Hauler, or if you would like to help spread the word about Pandemic Pantry, Bock, Krieger, and Riggan encourage you to visit the event’s Facebook page, Pandemic Pantry – Replenish the Muscatine Salvation Food Bank! Through everyone’s generous donations, people across Muscatine County will continue to receive the nutritious food their families need during this difficult time.