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Food Banks in Omaha metro feeling impact of inflation

WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The food here is constantly coming in and out to help feed those most in need in our community. And it takes a lot to do it.

The Food Bank for the Heartland will spend $7.4 million this year alone.

But there’s a major problem they are facing.

“We simply cannot buy the amount that we would like because we are paying the vicinity of about 12 to 15% more because of inflation,” said Brian Barks, Food Bank for the Heartland CEO.

Inflation is also having a major impact on operations here. The Food Bank for the Heartland serves 93 counties in Iowa and Nebraska.

That means the food bank has to get the food to all those areas.

“So far in the first six months of our fiscal year we’ve spent roughly $115,000 on fuel and $90,000 on freight, which is a significant increase from what it’s been in the past,” said Barks.

Rising costs for both food and fuel means the impact is felt most by those that need the help.

“We are not turning away people but what we do is we simply can’t distribute as much food as we had hoped. When we can’t buy as much food as we would like, that means not as much food is coming in as we had hoped. We have to live ourselves on a limited budget as well,” said Barks.

But the team here is working hard to come up with solutions.

They are trying to lock in pricing with vendors so they don’t have to keep paying more. They also have a brand new program where they are able to get much-needed items in bulk.

“We are able to get donated bulk protein items, break them apart into family-friendly sizes for distribution. That project has been working really, really well,” said Barks.

Now the plan is to expand that program to help alleviate the rising prices.

The Food Bank for the Heartland says the best way you can help is through donation or volunteering your time.

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