Floyd County receives much needed support from Iowa National Guard

Photo By Capt. Ramah Husidic | Sgt. Samantha Wilson, an Iowa Army National Guard Soldier with the 248th Aviation Support Battalion, works with community volunteers from Charles City, Iowa, to deliver much needed food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilson helped deliver food from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, Iowa, to a satellite location at the local high school in Charles City, Iowa.
April 29, 2020

In support of the Iowa Departments of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa Governor’s office and the Feeding Iowa initiative, four Soldiers from the 248th Aviation Support Battalion assisted in satellite location food delivery on April 29, 2020. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, Iowa, covers 16 counties in Northeast Iowa. The Soldiers delivered pallets of family-portioned food to remote sites. Charles City in Floyd County is one of those communities in need.

“The Charles City food pantry is closed and this is the second delivery the Iowa Army National Guard has done for us in Floyd County,” said Barb Prather, executive director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

The Soldiers are using the Load Handling System to deliver 7 pallets of food to the Charles City High School drop off location.

“Together we are stepping in to help while at this satellite location,” Prather said.

Early that morning, Soldiers loaded up the LHS at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo. The LHS can hold four pallets of food at a time and takes nine ratchet straps to hold down a load securely. The Iowa Army National Guard has assisted with 20,289 meals being both packaged and delivered since they started on Monday.

Sgt. Samantha Wilson said this mission to Charles City had special meaning for her.

“I went to high school at Charles City, I heard about this mission the night before and volunteered to go because I wanted to give back to the community I grew up in,” Wilson said. She is one of four logistics specialists helping deliver to the satellite locations using the LHS.

Pastor Debra Lincoln, director for the Messiah’s Food Pantry in Charles City, organized 30 volunteers from the local community to help the four Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers unload the food items.

“It touches our heart to see the Iowa Guard here,” said Lincoln, “It represents safety and stability in a time of crisis.”

In total, more than 220 car trunks were filled with food.

“It is the end of the month that people struggle the most,” Lincoln said, “so it’s a godsend.”