Illinois Project NOW Adds Refrigerated Box Truck To Fleet
One of Project NOW’s newest fleet additions is literally a life saver. Project NOW’s new refrigerated box truck began hitting the streets last fall to help those facing food insecurity. The truck, which is grant funded, is being used as a mobile food pantry—providing food to areas that
have been defined as “food deserts.” Those areas include the west end of Rock Island, the Floreciente neighborhood, East Moline, and Silvis.
According to our Community Services Director, Ron Lund, we have already provided 40 tons of food (80,000 pounds) in the community through pop ups, drive-throughs, and food giveaway days. And he says there is more we can do since the need is great. “For a variety of factors, there is an increased demand for food assistance across the Quad City region and we’re glad we have the chance to step up to the plate with this exciting initiative,” said Lund. Lund says Project NOW has partnered with River Bend Food Bank for more than 20 years and, because of the COVID 19 pandemic, the partnership has grown exponentially. Project NOW had a soup kitchen at our local women’s shelter, but it was determined early in the pandemic that it would not be enough to handle the need in the community. Project NOW then opened a food pantry in its headquarters’ building so anyone that came in seeking assistance for a basic need was also able to receive food. This has allowed us to serve this immediate need.
However, Lund says the food pantry works well for those who have transportation and are not walking or taking the bus to our location. Those individuals must routinely turn down food as they physically have no way of transporting it to their homes. The refrigerated truck allows us to take the food pantry with us when we go into the community, and we no longer need to worry about how clients get the food to their residence. “We are thankful to have a great hunger-relief partner in Project NOW,” says Nancy Renkes, President, and CEO of River Bend Food Bank.
“We know that people in areas without adequate, consistent access to healthy food – food deserts – benefit from pop-up pantries that bring resources right to the neighborhood. We are happy that Project NOW’s work is making an impact and keeping people fed in our community.”
One of our food giveaways was held at the Esperanza Center in Moline in partnership with the Quad Cites Greater Hispanic Chamber. Its Executive Director Janessa Calderon called the event a success with hundreds of food boxes given away to the community. “Food insecurity is an issue we have all around the world and in the Quad Cities. We hope our small part in the Floreciente neighborhood helped aid families over the weekend. It is important for organizations like ours to team up for the greater good. Together, we made a bigger impact,” she said. Project NOW’s Executive Director Dwight Ford says there are plans to do monthly pop-up mobile pantries in the upcoming year. He encourages organizations and individuals to reach out and ask for the truck to come to their neighborhoods. Please contact Mary at 309-553-0857.