Haul Out Hunger: Mason City
"This is the coolest place I have ever volunteered and I look forward to coming here every week," exclaimed Judy Mulkey, one of the many volunteers that can be found at Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank. "You just feel good about what you're doing and know that you're actually making a positive difference in the lives of people that live here."
After moving into a newer, larger facility in Mason City over three years ago, Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank moves enough food and household supplies through its doors to support nearly 2,000 families every month.
"I'm a volunteer, but I can be found here 40 hours a week," said Carol Clayton, a longtime volunteer at the food bank. "We wouldn't be able to survive without the generous people that volunteer so much of their time to help stock shelves, inventory and distribute product. We rely on 150 unpaid volunteers every single week."
Set up similar to many grocery stores, patrons of Hawkeye Harvest are able to roam the many aisles filled sky high with canned and dry goods, fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products. "We have everything categorized and families are able to grab a certain number of items from each category depending on their household size," explained Carol. "This approach allows our clients to handle food and look at the labels just as if they were shopping at a regular grocery store."
The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms have been long-time supporters of Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank and this year we filled their freezer with an additional 1,200 pounds of fresh pork loins!
After a visit with Carol and the team at Hawkeye Harvest, we made the short trip around the corner to Northern Lights Alliance for the Homeless, a temporary, safe, respectful shelter for homeless persons where self-help options are not available.
"Donations like this really make a big impact on the families that are staying here," said director Jeanie Kingery. "Clients are extremely grateful when they can come here and get a helping hand when they need it most. Our facilities allow them to cook their own meals and it's amazing how one simple, delicious dinner has a way of lifting someone's spirits."
According to a recent Feeding America study, Cerro Gordo County has a higher than average number of individuals who are food insecure. We’re hoping that our 2,400-pound donation of pork loin, enough to provide nearly 11,520 servings of pork, makes an impact in the community.
A BIG, heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the volunteers, individuals and organizations that are taking a stand against hunger and doing their part to end food insecurity in Cerro Gordo County.