OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "She passed away years ago, but that is, her mission is being fulfilled through doing this grant program, to make sure again children and their families are well-nourished," said Dr. Amy Yaroch, Executive Director of Gretchen Swanson Center For Nutrition.
Dr. Yaroch explained that back in 2019, about one in every nine households was experiencing food insecurities. Today, a year into the pandemic, about one in every three households are needing help to keep food on the table.
"That's not just going to go away. Meaning this is long-lasting, this is probably going to be a year or more into the future, because there are ramifications for years to come and so again we are going to see a lot more people who were not food insecure before, become food insecure and stay food insecure," said Dr. Yaroch.
Food banks are known to be stocked with processed non-perishable items like canned goods and peanut butter. Those will always be staples, but now there is a high demand for fresh nutritional foods.
"Fresh fruits and vegetables are obviously, not being donated that often, and so what's happening is that food banks are directing their programming towards purchasing more fruits and vegetables," said Dr. Yaroch.
The need for this grant is expected to be elevated, so the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition will be awarding four food banks $25,000 each.
"Funding to implement programs that help their clients receive improved dietary foods, as well as access to those foods," said Katie Stern, Senior Project Manager at Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition.
When Stern refers to access, they hope this money will help food banks reach those who may have trouble going to a food pantry.
"For example, having a mobile pantry visit, not an established pantry, but using a truck that might go to a federally qualified health center. So a brand new pantry that's meeting the needs of those clients by bringing the pantry to them," said Stern.
Food pantries can apply until Mid-April at www.centerfornutrition.org