OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It’s been nearly nine months since the pandemic began hitting families in Nebraska and Iowa. While the community has been able to adapt when it comes to health and safety, food insecurity continues to be a problem for many families.
“The need for emergency food remains very high," said Angie Grote, communications manager for Food Bank for the Heartland. "We’re seeing individuals and families across the Heartland who are really struggling with food insecurity and financial hardship because of the pandemic.”
Prior to the pandemic, Food Bank for the Heartland was finding ways to help feed 207,000 families in Nebraska and Iowa. Now, they say that number has grown by nearly 93,000 more families in need of food.
On Saturday, the food bank hosted a drive-thru food drive, giving the community a chance to donate needed items from the safety of their vehicles. More than 130 cars passed through, donating things like canned goods, boxed meals and other staples.
“Food Bank for the Heartland has been overwhelmed and really humbled by the response that we've received not only today, but throughout the pandemic," Grote said.
Since the pandemic began, the food bank has been able to distribute 21 millions meals, a 75% increase compared to this time in 2018 and 2019.
Still, they say 1 in 4 children in their coverage area don’t have access to the food they need. The food bank says monetary and food donations will help fill this gap. And for those who maybe can’t donate their money the food bank is still are in need of those who can donate their time.
“Our volunteers are helping to sort donated food, pack meals for our backpack program and shelf stable products in our community packs that are being distributed out across the Heartland," Grote said. "And we really could not do all that we do without the support of our volunteers.”
To learn how you can help children, families and seniors who are facing hunger, you can visit their website https://foodbankheartland.org