Story Street Pantry is preparing to expand its reach in Southwest Iowa.
In January, the mission will own a second trailer to use as a mobile pantry, according to a press release from co-founder Loren Knauss.
“We are introducing a second mobile food pantry trailer because we have identified the need for mobile pantry services in areas with limited access to pantry services,” he said. “Our first partner outside of Pottawattamie County will be in the Missouri Valley.
“We received a donation from the Council Bluffs Christian Athletes Association that allowed us to purchase the trailer, and we began our fundraising efforts to purchase the remaining equipment and items needed to convert the trailer and update our current and to restore. Handy Pantry Trailer,” Knauss said. “We have a fundraising goal of $10,000 to complete the setup of our new mobile pantry trailer and rebuild our current trailer.”
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The new trailer, like the other one, measures 7 feet by 16 feet. However, it will handle up to 7,290 pounds — 3,000 more than the current one, he said. This means, with more efficient use of space, the trailer can carry more food.
“We take it to different places in southwest Iowa, then we bring it back, fill it up and send it on its way,” Knauss said.
Before it can be deployed, team members must install insulation, wiring, lights, shelves and flooring and equip the trailer with a solar-powered battery system and a generator and HVAC system.
“The current mobile food 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 learned a lot about how to build and operate a successful mobile pantry trailer, and we will be implementing some new ideas into the new trailer design 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 food pantry trailer will be identified as mobile food pantry 2, and the current mobile food pantry will be identified as mobile food pantry 1,” he said. “When mobile food pantry No.
The original trailer is then taken out of service to make a new one so the layouts in both trailers are the same, Knauss said.
“Our goal is to begin ongoing pantry services in communities in southwest Iowa beginning in the summer of 2023,” he said.