Thanksgiving in July seeks donations to stop food insecurity

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlberthttps://discovermuscatine.com
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Around Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, people place an increased emphasis on giving back to the community, and numerous food drives take place. Though Muscatine’s biggest food drive of the year, Freezin’ for Food, and other events bring in many of the items the Salvation Army of Muscatine County and Muscatine Center for Social Action’s food pantries will need throughout the year, gaps still exist. As individuals and families continue to receive food assistance throughout the summer, popular items can run out. To continue fighting food insecurity in Muscatine County this month, United Way of Muscatine will put on its yearly Thanksgiving in July food drive from July 24 through 30.

Currently, United Way of Muscatine estimates 4,871 people in Muscatine County face food insecurity, including 1,724 children. The Salvation Army and Muscatine Center for Social Action food pantries play a large role in ensuring these people get the food they need to take care of themselves. To make sure that both pantries have a variety of foods to meet people’s nutritional needs and tastes, the Thanksgiving in July drive will accept donations of any nonperishable food items. Right now, the food pantries would especially like baby food, baby formula, Boost drinks, canned fruit (particularly peaches) in light syrup, Ensure drinks, Gatorade and Powerade zero sugar, Hamburger and Tuna Helper, low-sodium canned soups, microwavable meals (like easy macaroni), and small jars of peanut butter.

Businesses, organizations, and religious groups that would like to collect food for the event may put out a collection bin in their space and accept donations from July 24 through 29. They may contact United Way of Muscatine Community Engagement Manager Hilary Henke to schedule a food pickup by calling 563-279-4237 or emailing [email protected].

Individuals who would like to contribute items to the drive may bring them to the Hy-Vee Muscatine parking lot at 2400 Second Avenue in Muscatine July 30 between 8 and 11:30 a.m. and place it in the truck United Way of Muscatine will have available. For those who would prefer to make a monetary donation to the drive, they may do so by making out a check to United Way of Muscatine, putting Thanksgiving in July on the memo line, and mailing it to PO Box 797 Muscatine, IA 52761.

Once United Way of Muscatine has gathered all of their Thanksgiving in July donations together, they will take them to Crossroads, where volunteers will weigh them, sort them, and then deliver them to the Salvation Army of Muscatine County and Muscatine Center for Social Action’s food pantries. Last year’s Christmas in July drive brought in over 3,450 pounds of food, and the United Way of Muscatine hopes to have another good haul this year.

Though food insecurity presents a very real challenge to many people living in Muscatine County today, United Way of Muscatine believe that people can help stop it by keeping food pantries fully stocked throughout the year. “I would encourage people to donate because no one ever wants to wonder where their next meal will come from,” said Henke: “Please consider helping us stock the shelves of the Salvation Army of Muscatine and MCSA by collecting donations for Thanksgiving in July. When we chose to live united, we can create a better tomorrow together.”

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