Frequently Asked Questions on Food & Nutrition

Food Reservoir

How do we host a food drive?

The ideal time to host a food drive is between the months of May and the end of August. The Food Reservoir and other community partners participate in the annual Eastern Iowa Freedom from Hunger Food drives during that time. However, if this particular time frame doesn't work for you, let us know. We'd welcome your participation at another time during the year. The need for food assistance is ongoing!

What are your volunteer opportunities?

Volunteer with your friends, family, or coworkers. Volunteering at the Food Bank is a great service project for church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. It is also a wonderful place for businesses to conduct team building events.

You can volunteer for as little as an hour (typical shifts are 2-4 hours). Volunteers are always needed and are greatly appreciated! We couldn't do what we do without the help of our volunteers.

See our Volunteer page to learn more.

How can we donate to the Food Reservoir?

Financial donations help purchase food. A $1 donation purchases approximately 6 meals. If you are interested in making a monetary donation, make your check payable to the HACAP Food Reservoir. Checks should be mailed to:

HACAP Food Reservoir
PO Box 490
Hiawatha, IA 52233

You can also help by donating nonperishable food. Some of the items we are most in need of are canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruits, peanut butter, chili and macaroni and cheese. Click here to earn more about donating food. 


How many partner agencies do you have? / What counties do you serve?

The Food Reservoir currently serves 97 partner agencies within the Benton, Johnson, Linn, Jones, Washington, Cedar and Iowa Counties.

Where do you get your food from?

We apply for and are awarded grants to help fund some of our food programs. The Food Reservoir also receives donations from partner businesses such as Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, Quaker Oats, and General Mills. Food drives are also an important resource to us. 

How is the food reservoir funded?

  • Partner Agency Support 
  • Individual, Business and Group donations  
  • Special Events
  • Grants and Foundations
  • Fundraising

Who donates food, and where does it go?

We partner with dozens of local business that graciously host food drives to benefit our food programs. Stamp-Out Hunger, the Letter Carriers Food Drive, the Eastern Iowa Freedom from Hunger drive, and the boy scout's "Scouting for Food" event are some more well known annual drives that put a tremendous dent in local hunger. In an average year, there are between 55-60,000 people who are without food at least once a week in our area. To begin to meet this need, we should be distributing over 4.6 million pounds of food per year. We have increased food distribution annually for years – but last years' record 2.7 million pounds is only just half of what is needed! What this means is that our food drive initiatives are critically important, allowing us to feed thousands by stocking the shelves at 97 local food pantries.

Traditionally, food assistance programs see an even bigger demand for assistance during the summer months when children are out of school and the number of homeless persons seeking assistance increases.

Forty percent of clients receiving food from our partner agencies are Veterans and Veterans' families. This is the highest percentage of any Food Bank in the nation (according to Feeding America's 2014 Hunger in America Study).

I’d like to donate, what food do you need most? Or is a cash donation better?

The Food Reservoir is grateful for any non-perishable food items like cans of tuna or chicken, macaroni & cheese, pancake mix, soups, peanut butter and chili that is shelf-stable. Keep in mind: all items should be consumer-sized! We accept donations M – F from 8-4. We will take fresh or frozen items with prior notice.

Any cash donations that are received will be used to assist the HACAP Food Reservoir in securing food. For every dollar donated, we can obtain $12.00 in food, at retail cost – about 7 pounds!

If you are interested in making a monetary donation, make your check payable to the HACAP Food Reservoir. Checks should be mailed to:

HACAP Food Reservoir
PO Box 490
Hiawatha, IA 52233

What is the BackPack Program?

Across the country, teachers and school nurses have found that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. More than 18 million children qualify for free or reduced price meals throughout the National School Lunch Program, the fuel that they need to get them through the week.

The Food Reservoir's BackPack program provides children in need with nutritional, kid-friendly foods that will sustain them for the weekend. These meals are oftentimes the only quality food to which certain students may have access.

The BackPack program is coordinated through the HACAP Food Reservoir and facilitated by participating school administrators, staff and volunteers. Food is distributed to students discreetly and with integrity.

HACAP Market

What are the HACAP Market hours of operation?

First come, first served, agency shopping hours at the Food Bank run from 8:30 – 12:00 –1:00 - 3:00 Monday through Friday. Agencies may shop the HACAP Agency Market as many days a week as they prefer in providing for their clients. 

What kinds of retail are available at the HACAP Market?

Food can vary from day to day based on the product received from national chains, food drives, local stores and individual donors. Increasingly, the HACAP Food Reservoir is also able to supply fresh locally grown produce and personal care products. 

Do I need to bring my own bags/boxes to shop at the HACAP Market?

Bringing in cooler bags for refrigerated/frozen product and clean/dry totes or bins for bakery items not already in cases or boxes is recommended. Warehouse staff will supply boxes, when available to help the partner agencies store representatives shop the share floor for miscellaneous dry, refrigerated, and frozen product in a manner similar to a grocery store approach. 


What can my child receive as part of the I-Smile™ program?

I-Smile™ is a group of dental hygienists and nurses that are able to provide oral screenings, education, anticipatory guidance, and preventive services. Children apart of the program can receive, regular dental screenings, fluoride treatments to help keep teeth strong, instructions in tooth brushing, flossing and healthy diet, referral and assistance with finding a dentist.


What does CACFP stand for?

CACFP is the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

What are the meal requirements for CACFP?

Breakfast: Milk, grain, and fruit or veggie
Lunch and Dinner: Milk, grain, 2 fruit/ veggies, meat/meat alternate
Snack: Any two of the following components - milk, fruit/veggie, meat/meat alternate

What does HACAP do?

HACAP provides meal reimbursement to child development homes for serving CACFP approved, nutritious meals and snacks.

Will you provide CACFP training for our child care program?

We offer orientations monthly, usually on the 1st Monday of the month. We also offer 8 nutrition related trainings every year.

How do you get children to eat nutritious foods?

Children need repetitive exposure to foods through a variety of experiences.