Library partners with HACAP for mobile food pantry

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello Public Library is partnering with the HACAP Food Reservoir in Hiawatha to bring HACAP’s mobile food pantry to Monticello.

     The unit will be parked in the library’s parking lot on Friday, March 31, from 3-4 p.m. If they run out of food, they will close sooner.

     The mobile food pantry was supplied to HACAP in 2016 courtesy of Alliant Energy. The idea was to provide food to those who may not have enough access and/or funds for needed food.

     Mobile food pantry sites are coordinated between HACAP and various community partners in the communities in which they serve. The HACAP Food Reservoir also helps supply needed items for the Monticello Food Pantry.

     The mobile unit includes items not readily available at the community food pantry: fresh produce, frozen meat, bread, and bakery items. (Items will vary based on what the Reservoir has available at the time.)

     Michelle Turnis, Monticello Library director, said the idea came about after HACAP contacted the library.

     “They were looking to expand their services in Jones County more,” explained Turnis. “And they were looking for a centralized location.”

While the mobile food pantry will only be on site for one day, Turnis said they are exploring the idea of expanding it to once a month.

     In case of inclement weather, the mobile food pantry will be moved indoors inside the Community Building, next to the library. Both are located along E. Grand Street.

     Turnis said any leftover food items would be taken to the Monticello food pantry, which will also be open on March 31 from 2-4 p.m.

     “They won’t take anything back,” Turnis said.

     Those who use the local food pantry can still take advantage of the mobile unit, and vice versa.

     “It’s just in addition to what is already provided in the community,” explained Turnis.

     You do not need to bring anything with you to utilize the mobile food pantry. You will be asked to sign a piece of paper acknowledging your visit, the date, and the number of people in your household.

     “You do not need to bring verification of your income,” said Turnis. “We’re working on the honor system.”

     As for the library wanting to partner with HACAP, Turnis said it’s about community service.

     “Anything we can do to help people in the community,” she said. “The library is an integral part of the community, and maybe we can reach out to people who don’t currently use the library.”

     This isn’t the first time the Monticello library has partnered with HACAP or another service in the community. Throughout the year, the library runs the “Food for Fines” program. For every canned food item you bring in, you’ll get $1 or more taken off your library fine.

     The library works with the Monticello Chamber in October for the Monster Mile-Dash prior to Treats on the Streets. Kids bring a canned food item at that time as well and receive free entry into the costume race.

     “It’s all about good community relations,” said Turnis.


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