#North Iowa Bloggers + Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank = A Very Good Thing

Friday was a gray and gloomy day in Mason City, Iowa but some of my local blogging buddies definitely brightened up my day and their actions will brighten the days of others in our area.


Myself, Donna Hup, Val Plagge, Jeni Flaa and Amy Hild

We took a field trip to Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank located at 122 S Adams Street in Mason City to drop off our trunkfuls of food and cash donations that the bloggers and their readers had collected during November.  It was a fun morning for all of us and volunteer Ozzie Ohl was the consummate host and gave the gals a great tour with a great narrative of the history of the food bank.  At this drop off we donated 235 pounds of food and $200 to Hawkeye Harvest. Previous donations had also been made as well as donations to the Franklin County Food Pantry. 

You might recall that I did a post earlier this fall about Hawkeye Harvest and how this all volunteer run operation operates is amazing.  Ozzie answered a few questions for me on the blog earlier and here are just a couple that will help you understand just what this fabulous operation does for our area.

1. What is your job with the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank and how long have you been associated with it? I am one of eighty volunteers. None of us really have a job— it is more a way for many people to share their time,talents or treasures. Currently my main focus is to help tell our story to the general public,help out with special events in the community and try to raise money.

2. What does the food bank do–who do you serve and how does it all work? Do people come in and pick out food or do you deliver it to sites –how does it all work?
We are the largest all volunteer food bank served by the Food Bank of Iowa. We collect food through donations and purchase food and non essentials.
With our new location clients will actually be able to come in and go with a client helper and pick out the food they want and will use. In our old location volunteers made up the boxes for the clients to pick up. Everything was predetermined and packed up according to the size of the family and what we had on hand. Now with client choice, everyone will get a shopping cart to go around the room and actually pick out their own preferences from a certain amount of meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned soup, tomato products, pasta, peanut butter, mac and cheese along with extras, non essential products such as toilet paper, bar soap and other items. They will also be able to choose items from the produce case, bread and baked goods. The quantities they receive is still predetermined by the size of their family. We provide enough emergency food to make meals for four days. Last year our food bank provided enough food to make over 200,000 meals to help feed almost 17,000 people. Those we serve come from 42 different communities within the twelve county area surrounding Mason City.

3. Where does the food come from that you are able to distribute? The majority of the food we purchase from the Food Bank of Iowa since we are able to buy that for 14 cents a pound. We also buy food and non perishable items from our local grocery stores. Hy Vee East donates their day old bread and baked goods to us. As a partner with Community Kitchen we share twice weekly collections from Target and WalMart through their partnership agreement with Feeding America. Our volunteers pick this up every day Monday through Saturday. The remaining food comes to us from local individual and family donations plus community wide food drives held by schools, businesses, churches and other organizations.hawkeye-hfb-collageOne of the things that Ozzie is excited about now is the fact that they are “competing” to win $20,000 through the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover being sponsored by Walmart.  Anyone can vote daily through December 12th and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Hawkeye Harvest walked away with a pile of cash to help purchase a much needed vehicle?  I know it would make Ozzie’s day.  Probably his year.

To vote just click here to go directly to this page:Pantry-Makeover

Put IA in the search bar at the bottom of the page and click the little yellow icon on the right of the text box which will take you to the following screen.Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 6.30.13 PM

Once you are on this screen simply click on the VOTE button under Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank and you are done.  Click the SHARE button to encourage all your friends to do the same.

It really does not take a lot to make a difference and this is one place that I fully support.  All volunteer run, determined to help those who need emergency food without judgment—Hawkeye Harvest has won my heart and I am so happy to have been able to be a very tiny part of the effort to help those who are hungry in our area.  All it takes is a small donation or a click on your computer screen to make a difference and be the ripple.

If you missed my book giveaway post please click here to go directly to the post that features a children’s book and an adult novel both written by my friend, “Cotton” Ketchie.  All you have to do is leave a comment on that post and you are entered into the giveaway.  You don’t want to miss this one.


  1. Awesome organization!!! What would we do without such!!!!????

    • They really do an amazing job and they have some great plans for the future with creating gardens and cooking classes for those that use their facility. Such a blessing to so many.

      • Many of the food pantries/shelves are doing cooking classes (of some sort). That makes so much sense!!! Even our local (Houston) has classes with recipes on how to creatively use what is available.

        • It makes perfect sense. At my mom’s church one of the circles is doing a crockpot cooking class for the neighborhood ladies and they got some grants to do it. When they finish the program they get a crockpot and every week they do new recipes, can win kitchen items and take the cooked meals home . They also do activities with the kids while the moms cook. Simple but genius. Give folks the tools they need to feed their families healthy options—perfect.

  2. My daughter and grandson are volunteering this morning at our local Montgomery County Food Bank from 9-12. My mother volunteers each Tuesday. Love seeing the doings of others in other areas and states. Going to vote now to help Ozzie’s Hawkeye Harvest. What a worthy cause.

    • Thanks so much Georgette. I truly believe this is my favorite organization in the area now because they just really are providing so much with some much needed assistance.

  3. Well done! I voted.

  4. Thanks so much for helping to let others know more about Hawleye Harvest Food Bank and the work we do in the fight against hunger. Really appreciate seeing all of the North Iowa bloggers coe to Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank with your great donation of food and money. Hope that your followers will help us by voting for us at walmart.com/holiday makeover.

  5. What a wonderful thing you North Iowa bloggers have done.

  6. sincerelyjenni2014 says:

    Very generous thing you all did! And looks like you all had a great time together!

  7. I don’t know who feels more blessed the giver or the receiver eh?!

  8. It’s nice the people who need the food will be able to make some choices now. It’s great to get food, but if you don’t like something in the box it would probably get wasted (not by me because I would figure out some kind of way to use it – as a sauce or filler or something).

    • I know—that is what I love about it. They can actually pick out what they can use and there would be such less waste that would happen. Plus it is a dignity thing—everyone deserves to feel like they are just shopping and not have any negative feelings associated with needing this service. I think they are trying to preserve that .

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