After the It's All About the Kids® Feed the Kids Food Pantry opened in May of 2018, the number of families that came each week grew and grew. The charity was then faced with the challenge of not having storage inside the building. IAATK Co-Founder Angela Brannon-Baptiste answered the challenge by creating an idea of a Solar Pantry.
With the help of the Cristina Marquez, April Spadaro and Steven Steppe, a grant was secured from the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus [EWMC] to purchase and deliver a 20' shipping container and an air conditioning unit. The Iron Worker's Union's University of Iron stored and retrofit the container. With a grant from Finance of America Cares, the Solar Pantry was then delivered to the parking lot of the Feed the Kids Food Pantry in Barrio Logan.
Then, Cristina Marquez of the EWMC introduced Angela to Vidal Arce of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 5. With another generous grant of materials and labor, insulation was installed to keep the project going. The EWMC, Baker Electric, Finance of America Cares provided the solar panels, labor and other equipment to complete the project May-July 2019. Because of the insulation, donated non-perishables are stored currently without the cooling unit. .
Fighting childhood hunger is essential in San Diego, because more children are suffering than ever before. This project allows IAATK to be more efficient and able to serve more kids and their families. Storing of the food enables IAATK to participate in other free food programs, reduces the need for more volunteers and allows more meals to be provided.
This is the first project, as IAATK has a plan to have more custom Feed The Kids Solar Pantries in other impoverished areas of San Diego. IAATK is so excited to continue to work with the members of all of our partners on future Solar Pantries to feed more kids. IAATK is so grateful for the wonderful partnerships in the mission to improve lives.