Omaha pantries pleased with the results from the season of giving

Donations for 2022 ended strong, pantries hope to keep the momentum going this year
Now that the "season of giving" has passed, Omaha-area food banks are counting their blessings.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 3:17 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha is extremely generous when it comes to helping others in need. This week we witnessed some of that as 6 News went inside local food pantries to see how the season of giving turned out.

Forklifts were buzzing at the Food Bank for the Heartland as workers were finding room for all the donations. Some packages were piled almost to the ceiling -- everything from canned vegetables to juices, even coolers with fresh fruit.

Communications Manager Stephanie Sullivan says the organization is expected to feed 1.8 million people in 2023, up 75% since the height of the pandemic.

“For our 16th annual Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, we set a goal of raising three million meals and we are so excited to share those results next week with the community and let everyone know we did surpass that goal,” Sullivan said.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is also busy this week. They rely on volunteers to stock the shelves. Manager Gayle Reyes says the pantry at 21st and Leavenworth serves 200 families per week. Service to others is their mission.

They are thankful for food drives such as our WOWT Stuff the Bus event in early December.

“It went well,” Reyes said. “We have great volunteers to help us all the time, clients that are very appreciative and we had a nice amount of food and we order some from the Food Bank and donations from Stuff the Bus and donations from parish churches.”

Both organizations agree the charity never stops and so donations are always needed. However, managers are certainly pleased the food drives in 2022 were a success and this year is off to a positive start.

The Food Bank for the Heartland will hold a press conference next week to talk about specifics of the food and monetary donations it received and what lies ahead.