MASON CITY, Iowa - More than 37 million people struggle with hunger in the U.S., including more than 11 million children. Fortunately, the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank is committed to battling that hunger. But since they are used so regularly by clients and families getting much needed food, they rely on the public's assistance to help refill their shelves.
During the annual Grab and Give Grocery Event at Hy-Vee West Tuesday morning, teams consisting of organizations from across North Iowa dashed from aisle to aisle to grab the essentials.
For Jeanene Blickenderfer's team from the Iowa State Extension office, they were able to find a good chunk of their list in the first aisle alone.
"Tuna, coffee, macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper, peanut butter, cereal."
20 teams were tasked with collecting $250 worth of groceries in just 5 minutes. But here's the trick: no calculators, phones, pens, pencils or paper could be used to tally up the total. The final total was rung up at the check out counter, and even if they were shy of the goal...
"We try to do as much as we could. I'm not very good at math, so we weren't trying to do the $250 thing. We tried to stuff as much food we could for a worthy cause," Steve Weiss of Nutri Quest says.
Now in its 8th year, the event has collected over $45,000 in food for Hawkeye Harvest.
"It's a much needed service that we have and some great volunteers make it happen. We were privileged to be a part of that today," Weiss adds.
It may be a competition between these teams, but really so much more.
"Hawkeye Harvest wins in the end," Blickenderfer says.
A team from Cartersville Elevator took first place, with Farm Credit Services' team winning the 'Greatest Grabber' Award.