OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Local food relief organizations have been working tirelessly to make sure families have food on their table. Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased across the country and here in the state. Luckily, local groups and organizations are rising up to help.
Salvation Army members start with a prayer before handing out the meals every weekday.
Lt. Kenneth Jones said, “At 11:25 we have a little devotional time and a prayer time for the community, just for them to not only be fed physically but to also be fed spiritually."
The Salvation Army is seeing a great need in the community for food.
"At our North Omaha location, where they do a food program everyday for lunch, they have seen that the need has tripled there," said Western Divisional Commander Greg Thompson.
Food insecurity is not a problem specific to Omaha.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, at the beginning of 2020, 135 million people around the world were facing food insecurity. In April, the United Nations projected, due to COVID-19, that number could double to 265 million by the end of the year.
"Food insecurity has always been a problem. I think what the pandemic has done is expanded that problem" said Thompson.
Workers say when the pandemic first hit in March, the line of people looking for food wrapped all the way down the building here and went past the parking lot.
The Salvation Army is doing its best to keep their pantries stocked and is offering food services to those that need it, no questions asked.
"We've really de-intensified our case management in order to be of the most service to the people who really would, maybe, feel uncomfortable if they had to go down and sit with somebody and talk about their budget and things like that,” said Thompson. “We've kind of said, ‘Well, that's really not something we really need to worry about during this particular moment.’"
All the local Salvation Army centers are open and running in some capacity, ready to serve and ready to feed.
For a list of centers and hours of operation, visit the Salvation Army of Omaha's website at https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/omaha/