Volunteers from Google help out at Food Bank for the Heartland

Google also donated $150,000 to the food bank
Google is helping out with meeting the need of food insecurity in the metro, thanks to a donation to the Food Bank for the Heartland.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:21 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A major corporation with billions of dollars invested in the metro area reached out to help families suffering from food insecurity.

Google donated $150,000 to the Food Bank for the Heartland, but the larger donation was the volunteers who came in to help do the work of feeding those in need. Dozens of volunteers from Google were on the assembly line boxing up food at the Food Bank for the Heartland.

“This donation is going to support over 600,000 local meals, it means a lot to our employees who are able to put a little sweat equity behind that gift,” said Matt Sexton with Google.

The volunteers made it a high-production day at the food bank. Officials say this is the perfect example of corporate support.

“Google reaching out and saying ‘we want to get involved with mission work and not only provide $150,000 in financial support but we want to bring 50 or so people to your organization to volunteer,’ this here volunteers support is invaluable,” said Brian Parks, the President and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland.

So much of the food that comes into the food bank has to be packaged by volunteers. To have this many volunteers from Google means more food that will boxed up and shipped out to those in need.

Three metro area mayors were also on the floor, checking out the operation, and grateful that Google is helping to feed those in need in their communities.

Three metro mayors were able to get a look at the growing level of food insecurity in Omaha thanks to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert was one mayor out on the assembly line.

“People don’t realize it but there’s an estimated 177,000 people in our community that have food shortages and the need for additional food,” Stothert said. “The food banks all over the country really exploded during COVID because there were so many people in need, but that need really does continue even though COVID is kind of in the rearview mirror right now.”

Papillion Mayor David Black also noted the issues with food insecurity many people are facing.

“I think people take for granted that their neighbors don’t have issues and one of the things I think we see in our area is maybe there’s a perception that there’s not a problem, and because of that don’t talk about it, and because of that perception the need’s not being met,” Black said.

Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh noted the issues with inflation and groceries.

“The need continues. with the escalating prices due to inflation people can afford less product at a higher price,” Walsh said. “And so Council Bluffs is a community of need and to that end, we have every school in the school district I believe has free and reduced lunch.”

“Understanding as we come out of COVID and the lingering effects, this is a priority identified by not only our community leaders but also our site teams as a place they’d like to lean in and be effectual for their friends and neighbors,” Sexton said.

Food bank officials hope this experience is a positive one for the volunteers and hope they realize just how important their time really is.

“We want to be able to have their employees come here, engage them, let them have fun, make it competitive, but leave here with an understanding that you’ve helped make our community a better place, and that hopefully, they will want to come back again and maybe do it with their families,” Parks said.

Food Bank for the Heartland serves 93 counties, 77 in Nebraska and 16 in western Iowa.