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Costs of necessities remain high; Omaha area food pantries trying to meet demand

Posted at 8:27 PM, Sep 06, 2022

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Soup, paper products and laundry detergent are just some of the items loaded into cars of families in need.

In August Tri-City Food Pantry said demand almost doubled compared to this time last year, serving nearly 200 families. They are getting families who are no longer getting COVID benefits, as well as those impacted by inflation.

"We got meat and bread and a bunch of non-perishables, along with toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, just stuff that I'll need to kind of get us through the next week or so," said Shiann Bates, Bellevue mother of two.

Bates visited the pantry for the first time.

"My kids' dad was in a really bad motorcycle accident a couple weeks ago and he's been in the hospital. So I am just here trying to provide for the family and get the food and stuff we need," Bates said.

Like many families right now, the budget is tight.

"Coming here and being able to get these resources, will help us tremendously," Bates said.

And although shelves in the food pantry are light, it hasn't changed what families are receiving.

"We are still giving the same level of service that we've given to families the last couple of years. It's just we don't have as much on the back end. So it's a lot more scrambling every day to get food on the shelves," said Melissa Nelson, executive director, Tri-City Food Pantry.

Shelves are typically filled with items like peas and other canned goods, but Tri-City Food Pantry said the items hitting the shelves are leaving just as quick.

Nelson said it's not just the demand that looks different, but also the donations.

"As far as donors go, if they used to donate $100 worth of food to the pantry, that's not purchasing as much food. So it's just impacting us kind of on both ends," Nelson said.

Nelson expects the demand to remain steady in the months ahead. For Bates, she said she'll be back.

"As long as I need to I'll probably continue to come back here, they were very very kind, I almost cried when I walked in because I didn't realize how much these places give to people in need," Bates said.

The pantry said it's number one need right now is soup, as we head into the colder season.

And now with the higher prices, some items like paper products aren't hitting the shelves as quickly.

The pantry said its number one need right now is soup as we head into the colder season. Visit their website for a full list of needed items for September, donation hours and service hours.

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