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Couple starts weekly food drive for Cedar Rapids shelter

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As the coronavirus pandemic has closed the doors to community churches, one Cedar Rapids couple and their church are finding another way to help serve their community.

For the last month, every Thursday morning, Robin and Darrin Crow of Cedar Rapids load their van full of food. Food that helps provide breakfast and lunch for the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter.

“Whatever Marcy tells me they need, that’s what I bring,” Robin said.

It all started after Darrin, an overnight volunteer at the shelter realized there was a greater need for food now that the shelter was now open 24-hours during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Oh, well I bet that is a need that would not be hard to take care of,” Darrin said.

With the help of their church, Cedar Valley Bible Church, the pair started an online sign-up, for families to leave food on their doorsteps. Robin and Darrin then plan a route and spend up to two hours picking it all up.

“We have people in all four quadrants of the City and Hiawatha and Marion and even out toward Bertam that are contributing. So, it’s a long drive, but it’s fun because we get to get out and see the hearts on everyone windows and wave at everyone from our church through their windows, it’s a good time,” Robin said.

In their first week, the Crows say 29 families donated, but their mission is growing, with nearly 50 families helping last week.

“It’s a neat way for families to be able to all work on something together because the kids can make peanut butter sandwiches and cookies and that kind of stuff right along with their parents, so everybody gets to feel like they are serving and contributing,” Darrin said.

The Crows said they were inspired how members of the church responded in similar health disasters throughout history.

“That idea of actually running toward a disaster, I mean that’s what our frontline people are doing so much in healthcare and our first responders and we though how can we do that as well,” Robin said.

They say it’s all part of being a good neighbor, especially at a time in need.

“What a great way to be a good neighbor, to show our community love and support in a way that is safe to our church members, but is a huge blessing to the people who need fed at this time and the shelter staff that need help doping that,” she said.

The Crows are now teaming up with different local restaurants to provide an additional lunch each week.

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