HACAP will host two drive-through pantries in Cedar Rapids

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 — is opening two drive-through food pantries in Cedar Rapids.

The drive-through food pantry this week will be on Wednesday, May 6 starting at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Lindale Mall. People should enter off of 1st Avenue.

Next week’s drive-through food pantry will be on Friday, May 15 at 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Stadium. People should enter from Rockford Road SW.

Kim Guardado, director of HACAP’s Food Reservoir, told Little Village last month how the need for food is growing during COVID-19.

Prior to the pandemic, about 53,000 people living in HACAP’s service area were facing food insecurity on a regular basis, Guardado said. The nonprofit serves people within 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.

“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, which served around 3,000 individuals.

“When we think about the people that couldn’t come or the people that didn’t want to wait in the line, there’s still a lot of people left that need food,” Guardado said about the April food pantry. “The other thing is that the food we gave them, although it was a great amount of food, it’s only gonna last a family for a week, if that, depending on how large their family is, which just means the need is continuing to increase.”

“We’re doing our best to meet the need but knowing that we could do so much more and still not be able to feed everybody. … We’ll keep doing it and we’ll figure out how we can reach more people.”

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