MUSCATINE, Iowa–This year, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has climbed higher than ever. With many experiencing the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army of Muscatine County has provided more food to families than in previous years. In May, the Salvation Army held a special emergency Pandemic Pantry to fill their empty shelves until Freezin’ for Food could refill them. As stock began to get low again, everyone knew it would take a large effort to make sure the pantry filled back up this winter.
Throughout the week of Dec. 6, people and businesses from all across Muscatine pulled together to make this year’s Freezin’ for Food more successful than ever before. In the past, TanTara Transportation provided a single semi truck for food collection outside of Hy-Vee. This year, they redoubled their efforts, placing a truck outside of Fareway as well. Throughout the week, staff members from TanTara, along with some from Kriegers of Muscatine, volunteered to help tend the trucks.
On Monday, CBI Bank and Trust made the first Freezin’ for Food donation of the year. They delivered three carts full of prepacked grocery bags out to the truck at Hy-Vee.
The following day, many familiar Muscatine faces came out to encourage people to donate both to Freezin’ for Food and the Salvation Army of Muscatine County’s larger Red Kettle Campaign. Muscatine Police Lieutenant Tony Kies dressed up in his “finest” Kansas City Chiefs’ football gear to encourage people to donate money to the Battle of the Badges, Birthdays, and Besties. The Randoll family and Muscatine Community School District Communications Director Tony Loconsole “Tone” came out to help receive generous donations from many, including Muscatine Power and Water and Temp Associates.
On Wednesday, Troy “Stinky” Philpott made his annual donation from Stinky’s House of Horrors. Though his haunt looked different this year, his Eight Crazy Nights of Need to Feed brought in a record $600 and 7,203 pounds of food, crushing the previous high of 6,500 pounds of food in 2019. Volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County helped unload the haul. Muscatine Radiology and the Armstrong Team also made sizable donations that day.
Thursday, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine came out to garner more support for Freezin’ for Food and to make their donation. Director Charla Shafer encouraged the community to keep donating, as the Salvation Army’s food bank helps keep many families fed. Statistically, more than one in five children experience food insecurity. “It’s important work like this that’s going to allow kids to reach their potential,” Schafer highlighted. “If we don’t have activities like this going on, I can’t image how their day would go and their stress and the stress that their parents are feeling.”
Despite cold wet weather, Freezing for Food finished strong on Friday with donations from First National Bank of Muscatine and UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital. Saturday morning, TanTara transported all the food collected at both locations to the Salvation Army, where it immediately went into their food pantry to begin serving those in need.