Talbot House is delighted to announce that Bartow Ford will be gifting us a new (to us) passenger van to keep our transportation and donation pick-up operations on the go. Last year, we announced that our older cargo van had become unsafe to drive and too expensive to repair. We asked for help, and our supporters answered. Our new passenger van will fit up to 18 people, allow for social distancing, and even includes a wheelchair lift!

Between our van and cargo truck, Talbot House staff travel to over 40 stops a week to collect vital donations that allow us to distribute over 200 food boxes every month, 5,000 free prescriptions every year, and offer free shelter and essentials to anyone in need. Without safe, reliable transportation, Talbot House would not be able to meet the needs of the community as we do now.

Even before the pandemic, many Polk County residents were struggling to meet their basic needs like housing, food, medical care, and transportation. Food insecurity is a lack of access to affordable, nutritious food, and it can happen to anyone. When families have to choose between healthy food and their other necessities, they may choose to rely on cheap, unhealthier options or even skip meals. These choices negatively affect families’ quality of life and ability to take care of themselves and their children.

As we approach a year of living with a pandemic, it is estimated that nearly one in five Polk County families are facing food insecurity. Donations to our food pantry help us ensure that our neighbors don’t have to make tradeoffs regarding food, so they can have a better chance of a healthy, productive life.

“We are excited to drive a safer van, be able to transport additional people, and pick up more donations,” says Seth, one of our drivers.

Additional funds raised to support this project will be used to maintain the new van so that it serves us well for many, many years. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and simply could not restore hope without you.