A call for help from a community center in Iowa City turned up a generous response Tuesday. Dana Ballantyne, director of the local food bank, says 87-year-old Joe Hoard suggested that in the current hot spell, donations of fans would be useful He said he was thinking about 125 of them, so he called around and had to go to three different stores to get them all.
“If you ever wondered how many fans will fit into a Ford van,” she says, “it’s exactly 125. He had every square inch of that van covered except for the driver’s seat.” He bought them new, and by the end of the day they’d already given away 75. Ballantyne says it’s not the first time Joe’s extended a helping hand. He dropped them off at the Crisis Center, which operates the food pantry, offers emergency assistance and runs a crisis phone center in Iowa City.
“Joe is an inspiration,” Ballantyne says. “He’s a very community-minded individual who really is conscious of what’s going on around him and tries to help out in any way he possibly can.”
Ballantyne says Joe Hoard has done generous things for the community before and they always have a special twist. He grew up in the Depression area, and Ballantyne says he’s done without things himself and tries to help out others as much as he can, to see they have the basic necessities. There’s been a long stretch of above-normal weather in the area, and Ballantyne says they could actually use even more donated fans if anyone’s moved by the story.