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Food Bank for the Heartland expands kid’s meal program

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 5:38 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Having already doled out more than 100,000 meals, the Food Bank for the Heartland is stepping up its efforts again as part of a massive effort to keep kids fed this summer.

“It’s been a lifeline. The kids love the chocolate milk, the peanut butter, and jelly,” said Rodney Beaugard. He picks up food for his two grandsons every week at Miller Park Elementary School.

The Food Bank’s Mobile BackPack program was launched in March, in response to unprecedented need driven by the pandemic; 13 sites across the Metro, serving 26,000 meals a week. Starting next week they’re adding five more sites.

“Just like we have been doing, we’re going to distribute five breakfast meals, five lunch meals, along with some fresh produce at all of those locations here in the metropolitan area and in Blair, " said Brian Barks, President, and CEO, Food Bank for the Heartland

With demand not letting up, Barks says it’s important for people to know their options.

If your child was receiving free-or-reduced school lunches, they will qualify for a benefit through SNAP.

“I think in the state of Nebraska there are about 150,000 kids on free-and-reduced,” said Barks. “And those kids are, those families qualify for this program.”

It’s a matter of filling out a form either online or call the Food Bank’s hotline.

“We’re still going to be pushing out more food than we ever have before, but the more pressure that is lessened on our organization the better,” said Barks.

All in effort to make sure kids like Carmen Cordoba don’t go hungry. She helps her mom pull a wagon to fill up every week at the Miller Elementary Mobile BackPack site.

6 News asked Carmen what does it mean to her to be able to pick up food every. “It means that you guys are thinking of us to give us food every week, she replied: “That you guys think of us each week and it’s really nice of you to do that.”

As for Rodney Beaugard, he has a little advice.

“Everybody’s pinching right now,” said Beaugard. “And we, you know, just gotta help out each other, and look out for one another, and get through it together.”

If you are looking to sign up for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, you can fill out the online application. Or call the Food Bank for the Heartland hotline at 855-444-5556.

Online application

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