Caitlin Clark From The Logo In Coralville.

Iowa women’s star basketball player Caitlin Clark held a Donation Event at the Coralville Community Food Pantry in Coralville, Iowa, on April 21, 2023.

Caitlin Clark‘s exceptional ability to share the ball with her Iowa Hawkeye teammates has captivated millions across the country. Off the court, the women’s basketball star found a touching way to spread love and support, partnering with the Coralville Community Food Pantry for a month-long donation push. The dynamic duo recently completed their “Team up against hunger” initiative with a drive-thru donation drive Friday, April 21. Together, Clark and the local food pantry raised more than $60,000 during a 30-day stretch, asking donors to assist with $22 payments in addition to gifts of personal hygiene products. Fans were treated to a meet-and-greet with Clark to take a selfie in exchange for the monetary donation and at least two personal products during the event last week.

Catlin Clark, a University Iowa junior fresh off a trip to the program’s first Final Four in three decades, has partnered with the Coralville Community Food Pantry for two years, generating more than $80,000 in donations.

Food pantry executive director John Boller said their connection with the basketball sensation was an easy one, taking advantage of the NCAA’s name, image and likeness options to sponsor a popular athlete and unite for useful cause. The partnership was a perfect mesh of his fandom for Iowa women’s basketball and his desire to help stifle food insecurities, Boller said. “(Cailtin) was immediately interested in doing something (with us),” he said. “So we spent several months just kind of going back and forth planning for what ended up being our first partnership last spring, which was a huge success.”

The food pantry and Clark asked fans and residents to donate $22 last year as well, with Green State Credit Union agreeing to match each donation. The program generated $23,000 in 2022, exceeding their goal by $1,000. This year’s project produced even better numbers, a dominant win for all involved.

“We have not been to the community food pantry before, nor have we had a chance to meet Caitlin Clark,” said Coralville resident Maggie Willems, who attended the event with her 10-year-old daughter, Maggie. “So it seemed like a great combination to donate and meet someone that we’re both excited to meet.”

“There’s so much attention around Caitlin and the team and in our story, too (the Coralville Community Food Pantry), which is really great,” Boller said. “We’ve seen donations come in from literally all over the world, and probably almost every state in the country.”

The success of this year’s “Team up against Hunger” donation drive with Clark was expected, though Boller and company didn’t envision the goal to triple. The local pantry was thrilled for such a response, playing host to a big crowd last week.

“We knew there probably more eyes on (the drive) this year just because the (women’s team) was having so much success this year and Caitlin was getting even more attention for her incredible performances,” Boller said. “It was just a wonderful surprise to see all these donations coming in.”

What a thrill working alongside Caitlin – taking in all the generous donations to CCFP!

Wow! Look at all the NIKE products Caitlin donated for our CCFP neighbors.
Nothing better than a picture with Caitlin and John Boller – Executive Director of the CCFP.
Yup – 2023 was one amazing year for Iowa Women’s Basketball.
With the day done – Caitlin and the crowd are gone – but the night crew continues its hard work!

Here’s a salute to Caitlin – maybe we need to restore Coralville’s old name – Welcome to Clarksville! Read more here.

Read more her-stories – Women of Iowa who truly impacted our community, our state and beyond.

Check out The Coralville Food Pantry – Donate Today!
A lack of necessary space was the biggest obstacle the Coralville food pantry had to overcome.
The organization recently held a grand opening for their new building on April 6, a long-time need for an area with growing food insecurities. The organization was setting new highs each month for how many people they served. The time had come to find a bigger building capable of handling and storing more food. Boller said the Coralville Food Pantry often stores 16,000 pounds of food each week.

The new building allows the pantry to serve more people at one time in addition to a bigger walk-in freezer and more storage. “We had been operating out of a space that was much too small for our operation for several years, this new building was in the works for a couple of years,” Boller said. “We can accommodate not just more people coming through the door, but more food as well. That was one of our biggest constraints at our last space, just not having enough storage room for both dry and perishable food, which lends itself to our ability to meet the growing need.”

An increasing variety of issues have forced local families and residents into battles with food insecurity, but one of the major factors Boller points to is an Iowa legislation which severely cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for many families last year. That decision hurt, in addition to a sky-rocketing inflation rate, which has sent more persons scrambling for food than normal. “We’ve seen the need continue to grow since then,” Boller said. “And the cost of living is increasing, cost of food, housing, fuel… life is just really expensive right now for our neighbors.”
The Coralville Community Food Pantry operates with a full-time staff of five along with the help of nearly 100 volunteers. While the organization does purchase a good chunk of food items by way of monetary donations, local food rescue distributor, Table to Table out of Iowa City also supplies a significant amount in coordination with grocery stores and restaurants. The new pantry is located at 804 13th Avenue in Coralville, with donation hours from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday through Saturday. Pick-up times are held throughout the week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. A total of 719,950 pounds of food were distributed by the pantry in 2022, serving 3,621 individuals.
DYK-April 23, 2023

Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

Photos: Caitlin Clark’s donation event at the Coralville Food Pantry, Daniel McGregor-Huyer, Photojournalist, The Daily Iowan, April 21, 2023

Caitlin Clark partners with Coralville Community Food Pantry for donation event, Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen, HawkCentral, Apr. 21, 2023

Food for 22: Caitlin Clark helps raise $60K for Coralville Food Pantry, hosts drive-through event, Brandon Hurley, Iowa City Press Citizen, April 25, 2023

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