On Wednesday, May 20, the Dallas County Hospital and Raccoon Valley Bank, along with various community partners, came together to create an emergency mobile food pantry.

Community businesses and county organizations came together to put on the mobile food pantry with food and monetary donations for the first of two events. Members throughout the community of Perry came and flooded the Dallas County Hospital parking lot Wednesday and received one food bag per vehicle. The line of cars was backed up for several blocks.

“Our commitment to the community is very strong,” said Raccoon Valley Bank President and CEO and Sr. Trust Officer Terry Nielsen. “We jumped at the chance to partner with Dallas County Hospital and we came together to figure out what could make a big impact.”

The decision to go forward with an event like this came relatively easy as DCH Marketing and Foundation Manager Macinzie McFarland echoed.

“We had talked already with the bank and we both saw there was already a need for something in the community, we just weren’t sure of what exactly,” began McFarland. “Around that time, we have a bi-monthly food pantry and we saw the need for that and how many more people we’ve seen during the latest food pantry. We created this event, started asking for donations, and the community really came together.”

The outpouring of support was very strong as McFarland continued, including the Perry Elks Lodge No. 7. Tyson donated over 1,900 boxes chickens to give away as part of the emergency mobile food pantry. The Perry Elks volunteered the use of their parking lot.

“The biggest challenge in putting this together really was the movement of where we have the chicken,” said McFarland. “We originally we were going to have it here but it just didn’t make sense with the extensive amount, so we moved it over and the Elks really stepped up and helped us out.”

For the emergency mobile food pantry, there was a variety of food that was placed in bags that were distributed to each vehicle.

“We normally do this bi-monthly and we see what’s in the dry box every single month and we’ve kind of played it off of that,” said McFarland. “We also heard what community members might like and not like so that’s how we created the boxes. We wanted to give people the ability to have a meal that they could create throughout the day.”

The event overall turned out to be a resounding success, so much so that the bagged meals were all gone within the first 35 minutes. For those who arrived after the food bags were out, they received $10 gift cards to either Hy-Vee or Fareway.

Also present were members of the Dallas County EMS, including director Mike Thomason, who was very pleased with the turnout for the event.

“With events like this of giving out food, especially in the COVID-19 crisis, it’s vitally important,” began Thomason. “There are a lot of people without a job and putting food on the table is probably the main concern. The community seemed very receptive to this. This also helped ease some fears about the economy opening back up.”

There will be another emergency mobile food pantry event on Thursday, May 21. It will take place in Adel at Raccoon Valley Bank and will begin at 5 p.m.