Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#NorthIowaBloggers Help Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank this Holiday Season

In November, the North Iowa Bloggers teamed together to gather donations and food to help two local food banks, the Franklin County Food Pantry in Hampton and the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City.  And luckily for me I was able to join a few other North Iowa Bloggers a week and a half ago to drop off those donations.

Beth Ann from It's Just Life, Donna from DonnaHup.com, myself,
Jeni from Jeni Eats and Amy from Modern Rural Living dropping off our donation
Thanks to your comments on my blog and several others, as well as actual food donations, we were able to donate 235 pounds of food off at the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City!

After we got everything finalized with our donation, Ozzie Ohl, volunteer at the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank, gave us a tour of the new facility and demonstrated how it operated.  The Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank is volunteer ran and currently has around 125 volunteers, making it the largest volunteer ran food bank served by the Food Bank of Iowa.  Ozzie's focus at the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank is to help tell the facility's story to the general public and to help with special events and campaigns in the community.  In the three short years since he started being a volunteer he has worked in the order filling room, gone on food pickups and assisted people at the counter.

Ozzie Ohl demonstrating how the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank
works for North Iowa families
The Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank is an emergency food bank, so families can visit the facility once a month, where they will receive the equivalent of a four day ration.  In the picture above you can see Ozzie talking about some of the different food areas.  Above each section is a chart that tells how many items a family with different amount of members can receive.  For example, in the non-edible section that Ozzie is currently pointing to a family of one receives three non-edible items, family of two receives four, family of three receives five items, etc.  

Volunteers stocking fresh produce at Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank
Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank collects food through donations and purchases food and non-essentials through monetary donations.  Currently over 80% of the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank goes toward food acquisition, while the rest goes towards building costs.  The majority of the food they purchase from the Food Bank of Iowa since they are able to buy it for 14 cents a pound.  They also buy food and non-perishable items from local grocery stores.  Hy-Vee East donates their day old bread and baked good to the food bank, and they partner with Community Kitchen bi-weekly receiving collections from Target and Wal-Mart through their partnership with Feeding America.  In the end, Ozzie told us that the food bank simply couldn't exist without the generosity of North Iowans.  In 2013, Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank served 17,580 people.  At the end of November this year, the total was 19,533 and officials expect to serve at least 1,500 in December, creating a record year in the number of people served.

If you'd like some ideas on how to help your local food bank this holiday season, check out my Food Bank Guide.  How do you help your local food bank during the holidays?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!


  1. I love that you were able to be there with us that day. You are making a huge difference in the lives of people and I am proud to be your friend. Very proud!

    1. Thanks Beth Ann! I am proud to be your friend too.

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