More than two tons of chicken have been donated to two Omaha food pantries that help feed struggling families.
2011 was a tough year for many across the metro. It was especially tough for a disabled veteran and mother of a 12-year-old daughter. Melanie Jones can't work right now so she relies on a local food pantry to help her keep food on the table. "I'm so grateful for the help. We have times when we literally have no food,” Melanie said.
Friday at the No Frills Supermarket at 24th and Vinton, Melanie was on hand to help unload a huge truckload of chicken being donated by No Frills Supermarkets and Smart Chicken.
The recipients are Heartland Hope Mission and Together Inc., agencies struggling to help more people with fewer food supplies. There was a gap of as much as 25 percent between people in need and the available food supplies at some local pantries in 2011.
Melanie lives with her 12-year-old daughter, a married daughter, son-in-law and their six-month-old child. Her deployments in Asia subjected her to working in hazardous nuclear zones. The experience left her with severe post traumatic stress and unable to work. With limited income – only $1,800 a month – to cover expenses, the family would not have enough to eat without help from local pantries.
While she recovers, Melanie volunteers for Heartland Hope Mission to show her appreciation for help with groceries. She spends several hours each week sorting clothing that is donated to the Heartland Hope Mission so it can be worn or recycled.
No Frills and MBA Poultry’s donation will help replenish supplies for Heartland Hope Mission and Together Inc. Hardships related to last summer’s floods, difficult economic times and shortages of USDA commodities created a significant shortfall, forcing agencies to cut back on what they're able to give out.
“By presenting this donation here at the South 24th and Vinton No Frills, we hope to remind people that their neighbors need help year-round,” said Bill Loneman, No Frills Vice President of Marketing and Merchandising.
Heartland Hope Mission is the largest food pantry in Nebraska. Together Inc., which serves Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties, is part of the Metro Food Network.