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The Vinton Food Pantry, a volunteer-operated project began in 1985.

Jane LaGrange was one of the driving forces of the food pantry. She first became involved in 1987 when she was asked to help store food for the Benton County Food Pantry. Formerly located at the Sherman Building. The Food Pantry has had several locations over the years including the Hummel building and the old Bolenbaugh grocery store which Jane LaGrange had purchased.

It has now moved to the old west school building. Simply enter the west side of the building and the Food Pantry is the first doorway on the right.

In the early years, the food consisted of canned vegetables, mostly green beans, corn and peas along with government commodities including peanut butter, flour, cornmeal, cheese and butter.

Today the Food Pantry is able to provide eggs, milk, frozen meat, cereals, pasta, fruit and non-food items like laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, soap, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and etc. because of the generosity of the community.

They've also partnered with area dentist Sara Stuefen to purchase toothbrushes so they have those as well as floss available. Storey Kenworth in Vinton also provides toilet paper to the pantry.

Because of the HACAP Food Reservoir in Hiawatha and Old School Produce, they have been able to provide fresh produce and fruit regularly.

From 2010 through 2018 the pantry has helped to feed 13,245 people. Just through April of this year, 256 families have been served.

Because of the HACAP Food Reservoir in Hiawatha the Pantry can make the donations of the community stretch further. The pantry has purchases 800 lbs. of food for a cost of $69. Another time 794 lbs. was purchased for $100.76. In March the pantry was able to purchase 700 lbs. of meat for $103.

While they appreciate donations of food, the pantry is able to stretch your dollar much further through this program.

The Pantry is now open on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thanks to the county, the Pantry does not have to pay for space to operate. There are currently 13 volunteers who keep the doors of the pantry open.

The pantry does have a few needs and one "want."

The most expensive things that they have to purchase are the non-food items like laundry soap, cleaning supplies and feminine hygiene products. If you ever run across a deal on these products or if you'd just like to lend a hand, these items are always in demand. If you'd like to purchase a Fareway gift card for items not available at the HACAP store, that also would help.

Most of all they would appreciate any cash donations. Like they said for about $100 they can get around 7-800 lbs. of food!

On their list of "wants" which means, it's not something they need, but they would love to have someone who is talented to spruce up their walls making it a more inviting place for those coming through. They would like to connect with any area artist that might want to take on some sort of mural for Food Pantry.

Right now there are 3 Co-Directors keeping the pantry up and running. The three are Sherry Crawford, Linda Wood and VIcki Holst.

After 35 years the Vinton Food Pantry is able to offer the most variety, year around.

Thank you, ladies, for your dedication to this program!

Donations can be sent to: Vinton Food Pantry P.O. Box 3, Vinton, Iowa 52349

To contact the Food Pantry, just stop in while they are in or you can find them on Facebook!

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