Haul Out Hunger: Community Basket - Ida County
“We’re not quite like most of the food pantries you visit,” chuckled Kris Gunderson, director of the Community Basket, a mobile food pantry that serves 7 communities in Ida County. “In fact, we’re probably very different! We move around, but we bring the fun and several volunteers with us everywhere we go.”
Kris couldn’t have been more right when she said the Community Basket isn’t like most pantries we visit – not all directors bring us homemade cookies, bottles of water, endless smiles and hugs!
“We’re considered to be the model of all mobiles, at least in this area,” explained Kris. “We have a mobile truck loaded with food that visits Holstein, Galva, Ida Grove, Battle Creek, Arthur, Kiron and Odebolt. When we show up our crew unloads the food onto tables and transforms the space into a food pantry. It’s amazing!”
Currently, the Community Basket mobile food pantry serves approximately 130 people per month and relies on 30-45 volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
“The mobile pantry allows us to hit several different communities, but sometimes families can’t make it, so we give them another opportunity to come to us,” explained Kris. “We have a site pantry every month too, which means a family could be served twice in one month.”
At mobile pantries families walk around and grab items off tables they would enjoy. At the site pantry items are pre-packaged for them, but the pantry takes into consideration requests for specific items the family needs. Kris and her team also prepare pork loins to give families recipe ideas for hearty, delicious meals.
“When I retired, I prayed that God would give me something to do and quite honestly, the next day the pastor knocked on my door,” recalled Kris. “He asked me then if I could take on the mobile food pantry and here I am six years later.”
We’re not quite sure a simple 'thank you' is enough to express how much we appreciated Kris and her enthusiasm, passion and genuine desire to end food insecurity in Ida County. And of course we have to thank her husband Steve for once again helping us unload more than 600 pounds of pork for the Community Basket. We’re proud of the work we’re doing in Ida County and together with the Community Basket and volunteers like Kris and Steve, we’re confident that we will end food insecurity in Iowa!