The Food Bank for the Heartland is facing a serious food shortage. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle says flooding and other natural disasters closed roads and several important shipments could not be delivered. He says the shortage is at crisis level due to federal budget cuts and the floundering economy.
Food Bank for the Heartland spokesperson Brian Barks says more and more people are knocking on their door in need of food. Fortunately, they have not had to turn people away. In July alone distribution was up 25% but donations were flat.
Barks says there are 200-thousand people who are described as food insecure in their service area and 92-thousand of them are children. To make sure kids get enough to eat over the weekend when school lunch is not available, food is sent home with children on Friday through their Backpack Program. In 2010, they served 3,000 children a week. Even though no new schools have joined the program, Barks says they have received requests for 3,700 children. They also received an urgent call this week from Grand Island to serve an additional 500 children.
The Food Bank for the Heartland distributes food to more than 350 food pantries in 77 counties in Nebraska and 16 in western Iowa. They can’t give what they don’t have and are requesting donations.