NewsLocal News

Actions

'The need hasn’t gone away': Food Bank of Heartland keeps up with growing costs

Posted at 10:35 PM, Mar 14, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — High prices at the grocery store and gas pump could push those on the brink of food insecurity, over the edge.

Local nonprofits are working to fill the growing need, but they too, are getting hit by high prices.

Over the past month, the Kountze Food Pantry has had roughly 10% more visitors and more people are carpooling or walking to get there.

"There are numerous people that have asked for rent assistance, utility assistance, that say after they’ve bought their food they don’t have anything left," said Susann Henry, pantry director.

The pantry gets help from Food Bank for the Heartland but needs to buy additional food to give out. The small pantry is paying 12% more for orders, and $20 more in delivery fees.

"It’s getting more difficult," Henry said. "It’s very hard for me to find food in big quantities and it's hard to get a variety of food.”

Food Bank of the Heartland works with 589 of these community partners. The food bank is getting hit on a much larger scale.

"This year alone, the food bank is going to spend $7.4 million on food alone," said Stephanie Sullivan, Communications and Media Relations Manager for the food bank. "And with the fact that we’re paying 12 to 15% more due to inflation. It’s put a new focus on how we source donated food.”

With 78,000 square miles in their service area, they’re also paying high fuel costs. Even last year they paid 35% more on fuel than they had budgeted.

As costs continue to climb, food providers both large and small know they’re needed now perhaps more than ever.

"The need hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s only increased with the rising food prices, the rise in gas prices and rise in rent," Sullivan said. "We know from past recessions that this is going to take years to recover from.”

Food Bank for the Heartland and Kountze Food Pantry are both in need of volunteers and donations.

FIND WAYS TO HELP FOOD BANK FOR THE HEARTLAND

FIND WAYS TO HELP THE KOUNTZE FOOD PANTRY

FIND A FOOD PROVIDER NEAR YOU

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.