With the holiday season in the not-so-distant future, a grocery store chain is paying it forward by making sure a metro food pantry is ready.
Early Wednesday morning in South Omaha, Hy-Vee made a special delivery with a loaded semitrailer at Heartland Hope Mission. Employees from both parties removed pallets of food items as well as hygiene products and clothing.
It’s part of Hy-Vee’s “Stuff a Truck.”
Every year, the store sells bags at all 12 Omaha locations where customers can come in and purchase either a five or ten dollar bag, says Chelsea Salifou, CEO of Heartland Hope Mission.
Hy-Vee is known for pairing up with other pantries and organizations throughout the year.
The partnership with the mission started in 2007, says Lisa Gallup, marketing coordinator for the stores in Omaha and Council Bluffs.
In August, for one week, shoppers had the chance to purchase the bags. This year’s donations totaled approximately $45,000 – about $15,000 from customers and the rest from vendor sponsors.
“We ask vendors to donate monetarily so we can purchase for the mission,” Gallup says. “[Or], the other option is they can donate a pallet of product.”
The drop-off, Salifou says, will supply the pantry for the rest of the year which is needed since it has seen a jump in demand by 20 percent.
This year, she expects to help out around 40,000 families with many of them considered as working poor.
While Nebraska has a high employment rate, we’re also seeing a high under employment rate, Salifou says.
The annual partnership is the largest food donation for Heartland Hope Mission.
To learn more about Heartland Hope Mission, click here.