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Together Inc. food pantry expanding beyond Omaha to meet soaring need

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Food Bank for the Heartland and its partnering food pantries are bracing for the pandemic-driven demand to continue for years to come.

“This is 90 percent of our food right now because I have a teenager and an 8-year-old and it’s a tremendous help right now,” said Jeannie Horton, as she picked up a box of Food at the Together food pantry.

Soon, she and others will be able to step into a 10,000 square-foot pantry.

“To accommodate the increased demand, the sheer volume of people, we’ve expanded the parking lot, we’ve doubled the square footage of the pantry,” said Mike Hornacek, CEO, Together Inc. “We ended up having roughly 154,000 thousand visitors to our pantry last year,” noting that’s roughly 400 percent of what they saw the year before.

“That number of people who are struggling is a lot higher that it was 15 months ago and research and history and data tell us it’s going to take some time,” said Hornacek, noting in order to keep they are expanding beyond Omaha.

“The need has been so dramatic that just our one location alone can’t hold the demand anymore,” said Hornacek, noting they are set to open a second pantry of equal size. “I’m very happy to share that this fall we will be branching out and having our pantry services available in Council Bluffs.”

All in an effort to continue helping people as they come back from the pandemic

“They help a lot,” said Prya Kumari, as she was loading a box of food into her car. “We’re saving some money so we can pay some bills.”

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