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Amid COVID-19 pandemic, food banks need support

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, food banks need support

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At a time when more people than ever are experiencing food insecurity and hardship – including thousands of Nebraskans who sought emergency food assistance for the first during the COVID-19 pandemic – Hunger Action Month takes on an especially significant meaning.

The pandemic continues to impact us all. But for many of our neighbors across the state who were already living paycheck to paycheck, the effects have been catastrophic. Hard working Nebraskans have lost their jobs and are struggling to support their families. Farmers and ranchers are reeling from severe supply chain disruptions. The economic blow of this crisis will be felt for years to come.

Feeding America estimates the number of food insecure individuals in the U.S. has risen from more than 37 million to more than 54 million due to COVID-19. Across Nebraska, food insecurity has jumped from 237,440 (12.3%) to 333,960 (17.3%).

People who never envisioned themselves in a situation of needing help are humbly seeking emergency food assistance. And they are grateful.

Upon receiving fresh produce and a box filled with nonperishable staple items at a recent drive-up mobile pantry in Grand Island, a woman said, “I am helping my kids feed their kids now because they both lost their jobs. This food makes a difference in all our lives. Thank you.”

Each September Food Bank of Lincoln and Food Bank for the Heartland rally together with Feeding America, food banks, pantries, and other organizations across the country to take action and bring about lasting changes to end hunger in our communities during Hunger Action Month.

“Hunger is a 12 month a year problem in Nebraska and in America. Presently, there is plenty of disagreement in our country, but eliminating hunger for families, veterans, the homeless, is something upon which we can all agree,” Food Bank of Lincoln Executive Director Scott Young said. “September, Hunger Action Month, reminds us all to act and feed our hungry neighbors.”

“More Nebraska families than ever are experiencing food insecurity due to the economic impact of the pandemic, and many are seeking emergency food assistance for the first time,” said Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “With the community’s continued support during Hunger Action Month and throughout the year, we can make a lasting difference for our fellow Nebraskans who are struggling.”

While the pandemic is testing our strength and resilience, we have been overwhelmed by the generous support we have received by those across the Heartland wanting to provide critical meals to our neighbors in need. We remain steadfast in helping Nebraskans who are struggling with food insecurity.

You can learn more about supporting your Nebraska food banks during Hunger Action Month and throughout the year at www.FoodBankHeartland.org and www.lincolnfoodbank.org.

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