HACAP is holding a drive-through food pantry at Mercer Park on Friday

HACAP drive-through food pantry at Mercer Park

Friday, May 29, noon-2 p.m.

HACAP’s drive-through pantry on April 9, 2020. Photo provided by Kim Guardado, director of HACAP’s Food Reservoir.

Hawkeye Area Community Action Program — better known as HACAP — will be holding a pop-up drive-through food pantry in Iowa City’s Mercer Park on Friday, between noon and 2 p.m. The pop-up pantry was originally scheduled for Thursday, by with forecasts calling for bad weather, HACAP pushed it back one day.

The nonprofit serves people living in Linn, Johnson, Jones, Iowa, Benton and Washington counties, providing assistance with health and nutrition, as well as a variety of other services. Their Food Reservoir also serves Cedar County.

Prior to the pandemic, about 53,000 people living in HACAP’s service area were facing food insecurity on a regular basis, Kim Guardado, director of HACAP’s Food Reservoir, told Little Village in April.

“So take those folks and add to them the number of people that have lost their jobs or are unable to work right now,” Guardado said. “We don’t really have good data on how many more people, but when you look at the unemployment claims, that tells you that the need is great.”

In early April, HACAP offered the first large drive-through food pantry since the pandemic began. It served around 3,000 individuals. But COVID-19 has forced to HACAP to make some changes to how the mobile pantries work.

Instead of setting up tables for people to select their own items, HACAP will be distributing already-prepared packages of food.

“We will have pallets of boxes and bags ready to add the perishable items like produce, bakery and meat to,” the nonprofit explains on its website. “We will distribute directly from the truck in order to reduce contact with clients.”

HACAP requests that people stay in their cars and just drive-through the site to pick up packages.

“If clients do not have cars, we are asking that a line of participants be formed and we will call one person at a time up to receive their pre-boxed and bagged items,” HACAP said.

No ID is required to receive food, and one person may pick up packages for multiple households.

Anyone wanting to participate in the drive-through pantry is asked to enter Mercer Park from Dover Street.

Anyone interested in volunteering with HACAP for the upcoming food pantries or other events can find more information on its website.