New Ho-Chunk Food Distribution truck helps for more deliveries

By Ken Luchterhand

A shiny new truck now is bouncing down the highways and byways of Wisconsin, delivering food to the people in Ho-Chunk communities.
Food Distribution has replaced their outdated diesel-powered refrigerated truck with a new Dodge Ram Promaster 3500 truck with 250-square-foot refrigerated cargo space.
“The Dodge Ram Promaster is twice as large in capacity compared to the recent fleet refrigerated vehicle within our FDP fleet,” said HCN Food Distribution Director Andrew Rave.
“We have also been awarded the Urban Waiver to expand services to HCN members or other federally recognized tribes in cities over 10,000 population such as Wausau, Marshfield, La Crosse and Eau Claire to name a few within our service area,” Rave said. “We look forward to continuing our FDP Program objectives and also expanding service area to include Dane County (Madison Area) in the fiscal year 2018 beginning in October of this year.”
The truck costs approximately $45,000 and it was necessary to attach the refrigeration unit, which cost another $10,000. A separate vendor in Chicago installed the refrigeration system. That installation took approximately two weeks.
It is partially funded through an annual USDA grant, with a 25 percent match from the Ho-Chunk Nation, purchased from Pischke Motors in West Salem, Rave said.
The truck was ordered in September and was delivered at Food Distribution on May 5. The older Food Distribution truck eventually will be traded in or placed up for bids sometime in the future.
The new, larger truck will help with the additional food distribution, especially in light of an approval of an Urban Waiver Request from the United States Department of Agriculture-Food and Nutrition Services in October, Rave said.
The waiver allows food service to tribal members who reside in populated cities over 10,000 residents. The Food Distribution Program is now allowed to expand services to Ho-Chunk Nation members and other federally recognized tribal members who reside in designed counties and cities such as Eau Claire, La Crosse, Onalaska, Marshfield, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Plover, Stevens Point and Portage.
There are required forms and documents needed in order to determine eligibility, Rave said.
The Ho-Chunk Nation’s Food Distribution Program will continue to “Feed the People” through the Department of Health, Division of Community Health, Food Distribution Program and the USDA-FNS MWRO.
They distribute to each area on Wednesdays where they have a set monthly schedule that is recurring every month.