Story Street Pantry is preparing to expand its reach to Southwest Iowa.
In January, the mission will take possession of a second trailer to be used as a mobile pantry, according to a press release from co-founder Loren Knauss.
“We are introducing a second mobile pantry trailer because we have identified a need for mobile pantry services in areas with limited access to pantry services,” she said. “Our first partner outside of Pottawattamie County will be in the Missouri Valley.
“We received a donation from the Council Bluffs Christian Athletic Association, which allowed us to purchase the trailer, and we have begun our fundraising efforts to purchase the equipment and remaining items that are needed to convert the trailer and update and refurbish our current. mobile pantry trailer,” Knauss said. “We have a fundraising goal of $10,000 to complete the setup of our new mobile pantry trailer and to refurbish our current trailer.”
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The new trailer, like the other one, measures 7 feet by 16 feet. However, it will support up to 7,290 pounds, 3,000 more than the current one, he said. This means that, with more efficient use of space, the trailer can carry more food.
“We’ll take it to various places in southwest Iowa, then bring it back, fill it up and send it on its way,” Knauss said.
Before it can be deployed, team members will need to install insulation, wiring, lights, shelves and flooring, and outfit the trailer with a solar-powered battery system and a generator and HVAC system.
“The current mobile pantry trailer has been in continuous operation since July 2021, and our teams have helped provide pantry services to thousands of people from the mobile pantry trailer,” Knauss said. “We have learned a lot about how to set up and operate a successful mobile pantry trailer, and we will implement some new ideas in the design of the new trailer to increase the efficiency of our available space. We will work with each of our mobile pantry sites to help us with the final layout of the new mobile pantry.
“The new mobile pantry trailer will be identified as mobile pantry number 2, and the current mobile pantry will be identified as mobile pantry number 1,” he said. “Once mobile pantry #2 is set up and operational, we will begin using it at our current mobile locations.”
The original trailer will be taken out of service for refurbishment, so the designs of both trailers will be the same, Knauss said.
“Our goal is to begin providing ongoing pantry services in communities across southwest Iowa beginning in the summer of 2023,” he said.