Craig and Nancy - Parkersburg Little Free Pantry Captains
“Food insecurity is a lot bigger issue than most people think. We often take it for granted that we get to go home and eat a meal each night. The idea of people going hungry seems like something that happens in cities, but there is much more of it than we realize in our small towns. It’s a very serious need within the community,” said Craig, a production well-being specialist for Iowa Select Farms and the captain for the Parkersburg Little Free Pantry.
Craig and his wife Nancy, a finishing manager for Iowa Select Farms, work together to care for the pantry. It is one of the most recent additions to the Little Free Pantry program and was installed in June 2021. After seeing the success of pantries in other Homegrown Iowa communities, Craig and Nancy were eager to get involved.
“When we heard there was one going up in Parkersburg, we jumped at the opportunity to help. There was no doubt in our minds that this was something we wanted to be a part of,” said Craig. “Being from a small town, I know there are families that are hurting. There is a such a need for this type of resource today, it’s just unbelievable.”
The Parkersburg Little Free Pantry is in a prime location – right outside the front door of the town’s elementary school. Support from school administration and staff were critical to its installation. The pantry features an extra special design: an entire panel that pays tribute to the legendary Aplington-Parkersburg football coach, Ed Thomas, who’s memory serves as a reminder of the importance of faith, family, football and above all community. The connection to the importance of community couldn’t be more perfect, especially given the community’s reaction to the pantry.
“There has been a lot of support from the community. We’ve had a couple families reach out and say how thankful they were for the help,” said Craig. “Some older people in the community have noticed too and mentioned how thankful they are for Iowa Select’s work.”
People in Aplington aren’t the only ones who have noticed all the positive things the Little Free Pantry program and the Foundation as a whole do for our Homegrown Iowa communities. Craig has experienced people who are genuinely grateful for the work of the Foundation all across Iowa.
“Projects like this let people know we really care about our communities, and that’s true all over Iowa, not just in Parkersburg. My position requires a lot of travel and I’ve had people come up to me while I’m on the road to ask about the pantries or the pork loin giveaways,” said Craig. “Even when I’m in different communities, I hear about the impact we are making. That says a ton about what Iowa Select Farms is all about and it makes me proud to work here in a big way.”