Foodbank of the Heartland struggles to keep up with demand

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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The Food Bank of the Heartland takes charge to help with the federal summer food program.

It’s not even summer yet… and the food bank is trying to keep up with demand, now that children are not going to school.

Hundreds of pounds of food were distributed to families in need in the Millard school district Thursday.

Jane Pellie, retired Millard Schools teacher said, “If they’re not in our school buildings to get their daily hugs and smiles from teachers and administrators and the support staff at school, then the best way we can help them is to make sure they have some food.”

Many across Omaha rely on schools for two meals a day on a normal day.

Teachers and food banks are now trying their hardest to keep up.

Angie Grote, communications Manager for the Food Bank of the Heartland said, “Day by day, week by week things are changing so quickly but the food bank is trying to stay on top of it.”

In recent weeks the Food Bank of the Heartland Has been distributing more food than ever – at a time only half the donations are coming in.

Grote said, “All of us are being impacted by COVID-19 but for food-insecure neighbors, this is a very scary time.”

In a typical month, the food bank will spend less than $80,000. In March, it spent about $675,000.

In April, it could approach a $1 million – all to make sure people have something to eat.

“We’re grateful for the folks in our community who are pitching in and making financial donations and really wanting to help their neighbors,” Grote said.

Much of that food is aiding families with children. Right now kids can still get a week's worth of breakfasts and lunches from Omaha Public Schools.

They’ve handed out more than 80,000 meals since the middle of March.

Food drives like this are important to fill the cracks and feed school-age family members.

Terry Connell, Millard Schools staff member said, “I think all of us do what we can to make a difference in the life of the kids and the families. So we do what we do.”

As long as health guidelines allow, OPS plans to continue providing two meals - five times a week - that includes summer break.