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Community Partnerships

November 16, 2016 | Blog

This past month has zipped by with lots of activity. Our topic this month for the Feeding America Rural Child Hunger Capacity Institute was building community partnerships. There were some good ideas about building and keeping partnerships going – new ways to think about things. It would be great to build a group of volunteers that would travel initially to set up our mobile pantries and mobile school pantries if needed. There was also the suggestion to talk and develop relationships with local libraries. I have to admit I have only talked to one library in my year here at the Food Bank of Iowa, but that is something that I will do more of as I go forward.

We have a fantastic group of community partners for our BackPack ProgramTM and I want to celebrate them. I hope we can have an event in August to kick off the next school year that thanks them and educates them on the other things we do. Having advocates in each community is sooooo important.

We also have a great group of volunteers that come right here to help us out each week. This past month, in just the child and youth area, we packed all the BackPack sacks (over 4,000) for the summer and made up over 2,000 breakfast bags for summer feeding. The breakfast bags took a bit longer than we thought and we had to call a last minute crew in for a final shift. We are so thankful that six people responded to that last minute call and we got them all done in just a couple hours. We also trained 19 amazing site leads for our 5 lunch sites for the summer. That was a very fun day – sharing the enthusiasm for this new adventure.

I also travelled to Sibley to do school pantry training and deliver their first shipment of food. This is our ninth school based pantry. They are over 230 miles away and a four hour trip – long day. I made a stop at a school on my way home that will be our first mobile school pantry location. We will do the first one in September. WOOO HOOO!

As the calendar turns to June and summer is here, I am already thinking about next school year and where we can add more school pantries. Huge thanks to our eight pilot schools who gave us such a solid foundation to begin this program and work out the details of having pantries within the schools. We know that the families were positively impacted by these pantries and that just makes us want to do more.

Summer feeding started this week with Ames in our breakfast bag program. Our lunch sites kick off next week – nervous and very excited! I’ll let you know how it goes…

Kate Pauly | Regional Partnership Coordinator

Kate Pauly is the Regional Partnership Coordinator for Region 1, the northwest corner of our service area. She takes a holistic approach to hunger fighting, helping our partners find the best solutions to get food to people in need.

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