A new custom mobile food pantry designed and built by Adams Industries was unveiled Tuesday morning, and the trailer not only impressed with its mission, but with the clever engineering and functionality that is sure to help Nebraskans in need.
After designing and constructing a mobile food pantry for Table of Grace last year, which serves the Panhandle area, Sandhills Publishing looked to Adams to provide another. Sandhills has now provided the funding for two mobile pantries, and had only one condition to be met. All of the equipment, construction materials and work on the trailer must come from Nebraska.
"It's Nebraskans for Nebraskans," said Brain Booe, the Adams engineer in charge of the mobile pantry projects.
"Jim Hanson, the Community Outreach Director for Sandhills, said to me that it is very important that all of the equipment, engineering and work on these trailers come from Nebraska. We want the message to be that Nebraskans take care of their own, and are willing to not only figure out a way to make an incredible mobile pantry like this, but also equip it and put all the parts necessary together with all Nebraska sourced items," said Booe.
The trailer is named "Home Town Fresh", and just needs to be wrapped and have a few details nailed down before its ready for service.
Michaella Kumke, President and CEO of Food Bank of Lincoln, was overwhelmed by the unveiling of the trailer, and the work and detail put into the project. For example, Booe showed how they cut into the trailer panels at specific points to allow the refrigerators and freezers a few extra inches of offset to accommodate people in wheelchairs who need to access the mobile food pantry.
With a tongue-weight of 3,000 lbs., the trailer is 36 feet long and weighs 11,000 lbs. unstocked.
The trailer has commercial refrigerators and freezers and shelves for dry goods. It has both hot and cold water, with a sink and preparation area with custom countertops. It is also water resistant, meaning that you could literally clean out the matted floors with a garden hose.
After the tour of the mobile pantry and all of its features, Kumke said, "This is so amazing, and beyond our expectations. This trailer will be able to serve thousands of people in eastern Nebraska, and it's so special that all of this was provided by our fellow Nebraskans.
Besides the generosity of Sandhills in financial terms, the incredible amount of working hours and ingenuity required to make the mobile food pantry a reality show a deep commitment by Adams, Sandhills and all the people involved on the project to make a difference for their fellow Nebraskans in need.
"There was no part of this trailer that was not touched, and we did what was necessary to make sure it had the power it needed and the functionality to serve the people who need it," said Booe. "Sometimes we'd run into a challenge, but we'd step back for a second and think of another way to get something done, and figure it out. It's really challenging to put something like this together, but really satisfying when it all comes out good in the end," he added.