MASON CITY, Iowa – A growing demand for food, combined with cuts to food stamp programs means that one area food bank is experiencing some major growing pains.
Volunteers with the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City confirm that the organization is moving into a new and bigger facility.
Ozzie Ohl is a volunteer with the food bank, and he says that their numbers have been growing exponentially since they first began, and since they are still located in their original location, it’s officially time for a change.
“Back in November when the SNAP program got cut, we immediately picked up about 400 people more a month,” Ohl says, “so, we were serving about 1,040 plus back in 1982, and probably 18,000 in 2013.”
Ohl says they considered more than a dozen different facilities, but they ended up agreeing on one that is within walking distance from their current location.
This was an important aspect of the building, since many who use the program either walk or take public transportation to get there.
The new location is no stranger to housing an organization that gives back to the community as their new building, located on 122 S. Adams Ave. is in fact the old Salvation Army location.
Renovations to make the building handicap accessible will be kicking off as soon as they raise money to help fund the project.
So far, the food bank has raised more than $7,000, but they still have a long way to go, since they are working to raise at least $300,000.
The goal is to open at the new location later this fall, but work will carry on as usual at their current location in Mohawk Square.