Food Bank for the Heartland reaching out to younger generation in need

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 3:30 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As an increasing number of people are experiencing the need for food assistance for the first time in their lives, one local organization is working to help people find resources they may not know are available to them.

“We came straight out of the flood and into a pandemic,” said Shelley Mann, who oversees the SNAP program at Food Bank for the Heartland.

Those two major events have created an issue of food security in the area, particularly among younger adults. Mann said Tuesday that she sees the need growing here every day.

NEED HELP? The Food Bank for the Heartland encourages anyone in need of food assistance to call their hotline at 1-855-444-5556. Call in, and someone will help walk you through the process.

“A lot of people who have recently lost their jobs who tend to work in the service industry, things like that — a lot of those folks are younger,” Mann said. “They just don’t have the same wealth of knowledge about how to get help and what the social safety net looks like in Nebraska.”

So the state is working closely with the Food Bank for the Heartland to target the younger generation the best way they know how: social media.

“At points, we run paid advertisements on social media for Access Nebraska,” said Garret Swanson of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “We have a lot of partners that focus on youth issues that routinely share Access Nebraska resources.”

The goal is to grow that even further to reach those most in need.

“In the modern era, everything is on social media, so we are looking at doing some campaigns there, and helping to reach out to folks using those platforms.”

The Food Bank for the Heartland is also working on applying for a grant to help revamp its outreach program.

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