Julie - Afton Little Free Pantry Captain
“This is one of the best parts of Iowa Select. It shows in actions not just words that they believe in their communities and that they take care of their communities. That really says something about who we are as a company,” said Julie who works in multiplication at Iowa Select Farms and is one of the Afton Little Free Pantry Captains.
She works alongside two other Iowa Select Farms employees, T’Lee and Jessica, to ensure the pantry is always stocked and taken care of. They keep a shared closet in the Afton office stocked with everything from canned goods and school supplies to socks and children’s care products, so they’re always ready to restock the pantry on a moment’s notice.
Located on the square near city park, the pantry provides 24/7 access to resources for families and children facing short-term, emergency situations. The pantries are designed to supplement existing hunger relief efforts by offering emergency products to those who need them most.
“I’ve been surprised about how much need there is right here in Afton,” said Julie. “Meeting with community leaders about the project and talking with food pantry staff about how many people in the community are food insecure has been eye-opening for me. We can see that need reflected in the pantry too. You’ll fill it, and two days later it’s empty already.”
However, even with this high demand, Julie has been pleasantly surprised to see the amount of community support for the program.
“I wasn’t expecting how high our community’s involvement would be,” she explained. “But often, we will go to stock it and find that people have already done it for us. The project is so supported by the people in the community.”
Julie couldn’t be prouder of the Afton community’s involvement and the support of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation that make this project a reality. It gives her great joy to know that she is positively impacting the lives of the people around her, especially the kids.
“It’s an important program, and if it helps the children within the community even just a little bit then it’s worth it and something I wanted to be involved with,” said Julie. “I think it’s a fantastic thing, and if we can bring it into more and more communities, that’s even better.”