Food pantry works to keep up as more Omaha-area families reach out for help

Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 8:46 PM CDT
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It’s being described as a need beyond prediction; people who were just getting by before the coronavirus crisis now struggling to put food on the table.

Manuel Zepeda lined up at the Together Food Pantry in Omaha on Monday. With his wife, Vanessa, and newborn daughter waiting in the car.

“It’s been really tough,” said Vanessa. “Because my husband just got laid off and he was the only one working, I just had a baby.”

Like so many who’ve taken a hit during this crisis, Manuel was making a decent wage working in a restaurant. Now, for the first time, the family can’t put enough food on the table.

“We’ve been looking for help the best we can because bills are not going to stop,” said Vanessa. “We’ve got rent, we’ve got the phone bills, gas, lights, everything.”

The food pantry itself, struggling to keep up.

“What we’ve experienced in the past two weeks in nothing like what I could have predicted,” said Mike Hornecek, President and CEO of Together Inc. “We went from serving around 150 people a day to serving about 700 people a day.”

A new reality for so many, including a new mom, trying to do right by her baby girl.

“I’m breastfeeding so I have to eat something to feed my baby, and then my husband and me, we have to survive somehow.”

Starting Tuesday the Together Food Pantry will be moving to a drive-thru service. The goal is to provide the proper amount of social distancing by keeping people in their cars. Police will being blocking off 25th St. at Marcy St. for a couple of hours starting at noon.

TARA IS LIVE: Together Food Pantry

Tara Campbell WOWT is checking on Together Inc. as they work to serve the community safely as people walk up for pantry items.

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Monday, March 30, 2020