Omaha food pantries facing increased costs as food insecurity grows

Omaha food banks say the metro's food insecurity issues continue to persist.
Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 6:46 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Salvation Army North Corps serves about 200 to 250 people in the community any given day.

Marsha Williams-Miller has worked here for three years -- and the food insecurity hasn’t gotten any better.

“We get creative in our meals we cook every single day,” she said. “Every single day, I’m asking myself, ‘Where is this next meal going to come from?’”

Lately, the nonprofit has received a lot of food donations. But the donations they get don’t offset an increasing need.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8.8% of households with children were food-insecure in 2022. That is up from 6.2% in 2021 and 7.6% in 2020.

“We know that a lot of our kids, this is the very last meal they will get for that day,” Williams-Miller said.

Stephanie Sullivan with the Food Bank for the Heartland told 6 News they don’t have as many resources as they did in previous years.

“In 2021, 25% of all food donated to the food bank is from the USDA,” Sullivan said. “We’re expecting that number to drop to 10% this fiscal year.”

All the donated food in their warehouse is delivered to their community partners like the Salvation Army. Those partners then give that food to those in need. The process of doing so is getting more expensive.

“Not only do we have fewer resources at our disposal,” Sullivan said. “But, we’re paying more money for our food.”

As the holidays approach, both organizations are prepping for a storm of challenges.

“Everyone needs nutritious food to thrive but we know right now more than ever that’s not happening,” Sullivan said.

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