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Open Door Mission distributes fresh produce boxes during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 08, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Open Door Mission strove to continue serving the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Even though people have started to return to work and students are back in school, they’re not stopping.

“We have seen some people go back to work but money is tight all around. It’s not like anyone is sitting on anything extra, which is why it’s so great to be able to help people be a blessing to others,” said Amy Harvey, Open Door Mission’s Chief Community Relations Officer.

A few months ago, through the USDA, they began distributing boxes of fresh produce from nearby farmers to the community, for free. Harvey said that because farmers are having difficulty with their produce this year, due to a lack of availability to things such as farmer’s markets, the Farmers To Families program began.

Every week, from 8:30 A.M. to 5 P.M. Open Door Mission gives families boxes that are packed with foods such as strawberries, grapes, blueberries, lettuce and more. Families who drive up are not asked to show documentation or validate their need. They simply tell the volunteers how many families they are picking up for, get their food and drive away.

“Even though they may not be in need, doesn’t mean they don’t know other people that could use the help so lots of folks are coming and blessing people around their neighborhoods and that’s fantastic because that saves a trip down here, saves gas for others and then blessing their families too,” Harvey said.

Harvey said with this program they’ve been able to help more people than their outreach centers have allowed during COVID. Even though people have began going back to work amid the coronavirus, the need hasn’t diminished.

Open Door Mission has actually had to increase the amount of pallets of food they request in the past few weeks. Initially they were receiving one truck load, but in recent weeks they have asked for two, totaling over 1,700 boxes.

William Knudsen says those who drive through are always happy to receive food and he’s happy to help.

“They’re very thankful and they’re blessed to be able to come here and receive this and it’s a blessing to serve them and so we’re getting blessed on both sides,” Knudsen said.

Harvey said they don’t plan on stopping any time soon. As long as the USDA is offering the program they’ll keep distributing.

“As long as they offer it, we’ll be continuing to take it to give it out. It’s a ministry and people are in need and we want to do what we can do to help people with food insecurity. It’s a really big deal and nobody should be hungry in our community,” Harvey said.