Like Ole’ Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, the shelves are nearly bare at the Omaha Food Bank, which supplies goods to 87 food pantries in eight counties in western Iowa and five counties in eastern Nebraska. Spokeswoman Jewell Knapp says one of the reasons they’re running low is they aren’t get canned fruits and vegetables donated from the big canneries.
"Food banks no longer get those items donated by national food manufacturing companies," Knapp says, "that used to be called salvage product and the discount stores now purchase that product so those national companies no longer donate." She says they’ll now have to rely on the generosity of the general public to supply most of those items.
Knapp says: "The Food Bank receives just marvelous amounts of food from food drives during the holidays. Right now, school food drives are starting, businesses are going to be having their holiday food drives but we won’t start see that product until close to the end of October, mid-November." She says the higher cost of living means longer lines at the food bank and local food pantries.
"The food pantries have seen an increase in the need or in the number of people coming to the pantries to get boxes of food or sacks of food and they believe that is a result gasoline prices going up," Knapp says. She says thousands of bags of groceries are handed out daily to needy folks in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.
She says "There are food pantries right now handing out between five and seven-hundred grocery sacks each week so we are talking about thousands of people." Knapp is encouraging schools and businesses who host food drives to put the donation barrels out earlier this year to help them get over the crunch. She says any donations will also be appreciated.