Food Bank of the Heartland: Need greater now than at start of pandemic
“Shine the Light on Hunger” drive gets underway alongside Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Thanksgiving evening, the city of Omaha will turn on tens of thousands of lights to kick off the 23rd Holiday Lights Festival.
While they will certainly illuminate the new look of Gene Leahy Mall, organizers are hoping they will also put us in the holiday mood and remind us to share and help those less fortunate.
Food Bank for the Heartland unloads food for 93 counties across Nebraska and eastern Iowa, in the last fiscal year the food bank provided more than 26 million meals, and it’s not enough.
“I never thought I would stand in front of anybody and say that the need for food assistance is worse than it was at the height of the pandemic but it is we’re seeing more people needing food assistance because of inflation,” said Brian Barks, president and CEO of the Food Bank for the Heartland.
They’re working hard at the food bank to fill the warehouse. They need boxed meals, cereal, soup, canned tuna, and chicken‚ sauces, macaroni and chese — anything that has a longer shelf life.
This food will help families manage their tight budgets.
“We know that low-income families are spending about a third of their budget on food, and so any increase to those prices which we’re experiencing right now is going to affect their stability and well-being,” said Stephanie Sullivan from the Food Bank.
Not only is inflation hitting families hard, but higher costs of food, fuel, and transportation are also being felt here.
“That’s having an impact on us at the Food Bank as well. We have a budget of about $5 million we’re going to spend on food, and because of the high cost of food, we simply cannot buy as much as we used to.”
If the Food Bank cant fill up its shelves, it will be difficult to fill the shelves of families in need.
How to help
The Food Bank for the Heartland is having a food drive on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Baker’s located at 132nd Street and West Maple Road.
If you can make a monetary donation, visit the Food Bank of the Heartland website.
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