East Union A.S.P.I.R.E. Food Pantry-Afton
Our journey to Haul Out Hunger in southwest Iowa wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Afton. We might have dodged some tornadoes and intense thunderstorms along the way, but we made it! From on-farm production employees and maintenance technicians to truck drivers, office staff and management, Afton is not just home to one of our warehouses but also a handful of hard-working, tenured employees!
“Our special needs students use these loins to prepare casseroles for families in need in the community,” explained Melody Stoner, a volunteer at East Union A.S.P.I.R.E., a learning center, food pantry and thrift store for the small community of 845. “Whether they’re low-income, going through an emergency or could just use a helping hand, the students keep casseroles on hand for families in need.”
In addition to making casseroles, several loins will stay inside the food pantry which opens up to families once a month and on an as-needed basis. And thanks to volunteers like Melody, the facility transforms into a thrift store that is open to the public on Wednesdays from 9 AM to 6 PM.
“Everything that you see here is donated. We have a very, very generous community,” said Melody, who started volunteering at the center after retiring from a 33-year long teaching career. “The funds that are raised go directly back to the community. Whether it’s for the pre-k, after school or STEM programs that are available to students, we make sure that the funds from the center benefit the town.”
With the exception of rain, hail and strong winds, we can’t think of a better place to have finished day four of our journey. Melody, you truly are a ray of light for the community of Afton and we are so impressed by everything you and the other volunteers at East Union A.S.P.I.R.E. are doing to improve your town.
Once again, thank you to everyone that continues to follow along as we Haul Out Hunger in rural communities where our employees, contractors and their families live. Thus far in our journey we’ve donated 40,000 pounds of pork (that’s 20 tons!) to low-income and food insecure families in need and we’ve certainly had our fair share of fun along they way! We can’t promise any fire escape slides or crazy storm watches on Friday, but we hope that you’ll continue following along as we circle around north central Iowa again visiting towns like Jewell, Zearing and Ames!