“I don’t have enough money to pay bills and also get groceries”

In Osceola County, at least 1 in 8 people is food insecure. Over 13.1% of this rural community is experiencing hunger.

Even counties with a smaller population like Osceola experience significant levels of food insecurity. As your local food bank, we understand how important it is to get food to those who need it, no matter where they’re at or who they are.

That’s where our Mobile Food Pantry program comes in. We work together with local community organizations to host Mobile Pantries directly in communities in need of food assistance.

One Mobile Pantry working to combat food insecurity in Osceola County takes place at Evart United Methodist Church.

Alan has been the coordinator for the Mobile Pantries there for years now. When he first began coordinating these Mobile Pantries, they fed around 100 families. But, he’s seen the need steadily increase, leading to last month where they fed 247 families—their largest distribution yet.

Economic difficulty along with transportation barriers were noted by Alan as two of the main obstacles preventing people from being able to get the food they need from grocery stores.

They currently run monthly Mobile Pantries, and Alan says they are “meeting a great need” for his community.

Victoria smiling in her car

One neighbor in need of food who came to the Mobile Pantry corroborated Alan’s statement about them being helpful for the community. Victoria works a lot, yet with high living costs these days has found it difficult to afford everything she needs.

“I don’t have enough money to pay bills and also get groceries.”

This means she is not able to purchase the food she not only needs to survive, but to thrive. Because of this, she comes to Mobile Pantries in order to get some essential food items. She particularly appreciates taking home potatoes, milk, fruits and veggies.

She also picks up food for some of her neighbors, two of which being a visually impaired couple. She says when she drops off their food from the Mobile Pantry, “it’s like Christmas for them.” She wanted to make sure that the couple got the food they needed despite their challenges with being able to go pick up food themselves.

Colleen smiling holding her dog in her car

Colleen is on disability and only receives $23 a month for food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She came to the Mobile Pantry to get additional food items that she can’t afford within her limited budget.

“My income is very limited and it doesn’t allow me to eat properly. When you only have a little amount, you have to take your $23 and say okay I need milk, bread and butter. I get meat with anything left. I can’t afford potatoes or onions or grapes, so it’s nice to have the Mobile Pantries to give me that.”

She said she is easily able to make meals out of the food she receives, and that the vegetables especially are a huge help.

Mobile Pantry truck lined up at Evart UMC

Mobile Pantries provide supplemental groceries to anyone in need at no charge. They are an effective avenue for distributing fresh, perishable food to those who need it, like Victoria and Colleen. On average in 2023, Mobile Pantries have consisted of over 59% fresh produce, 16% dairy and 6% protein. Providing nourishing food is a priority when serving our neighbors in need!

Thanks to Evart United Methodist Church, over 700 individuals in Osceola County were provided with the food they need to thrive this December. Ending hunger is only possible if we work together; we are so grateful for partners like them for joining us in our mission!

Mobile Pantries like this one in Osceola County are also made possible with support from the General Mills Foundation Hometown Grantmaking Program and Enterprise Holdings Corporation!

Written by Content Specialist Kelly Reitsma