Most people know that the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) serves Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties by distributing food through its food reservoir program (6 million pounds annually), but the Hiawatha-based organization serves the community in several other ways, as well.
The Mobile Food Pantry is a van stocked with food, which visits sites throughout the region each month. (Click here for schedule).
Operation BackPack provides students with nutritious food at times when other food resources many not be available, specifically on weekends and during school vacations. Backpacks are packed for students who fit the criteria and handed to them as they leave school on Friday. According to the HACAP website, Operation BackPack began in 2008 with eight schools participating and have grown to 77 schools, distributing 95,000 backpacks to students within a 7-county service area, with the help of sponsors.
The Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Program is a public health program that serves pregnant and postpartum women, and children under the age of five. It provides milk, formula, cheese, fruit, cereal, and other nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education, and referrals to health care and other social services.
Rural Senior Services are dining services that are targeted towards seniors, although anyone can participate. According to the HACAP website, the 4th Street Diner in Vinton offers a buffet-style lunch Sunday through Friday, as well as a Tuesday Evening Meal. Hot noon meals are available for delivery within Vinton's city limits any day the meal site is open. HACAP also provide Senior Totes, which addresses food insecurity among seniors. This program brings food to older adults in the rural communities of our region who might be home-bound or find it difficult to leave their homes.
HACAP also provides healthcare to children and families in need through the Care for Kids Child Health Program ( which facilitates achievement and maintenance of optimal health in children under the age of twenty-one receiving Medicaid or Title IX), I-Smile (which connects Iowa families with preventive dental care and education for their children), Maternal Health (which provides prenatal education, nutritional education and social assessment for pregnant women), hawk-I (which provides low-cost or no-cost health insurance program) and Well Child Screening Clinic (which provides well child care for children from birth through 21 years of age).
HACAP also has a rapid re-housing program, which helps those who become homeless to find affordable housing.
For more information about these programs, visit the HACAP website.