Donations of canned goods and other items to the Food Bank for the Heartland were very good during the two final months of 2012, but demand for that food was exceptionally high.
Brian Barks, a spokesman for the Omaha-based food bank, says they posted some remarkable numbers.
“During the months of November and December, the food bank took in roughly 2.4-million pounds of food and we were able to distribute roughly 1.7-million pounds of food,” Barks says. “If that’s not a record, it’s pretty darn close.”
Despite the generous donations over the two months, the effort to collect more food is never-ending.
“One-point-seven million pounds of food is approximately 1.4-million meals,” Barks says. “When you look at the numbers of the hungry that we have in our community in Nebraska and western Iowa, we’re talking 200,000 people every single day are food insecure. One-point-four million meals sounds like a lot, and it is, but unfortunately, our need is great and we do need more help.”
While the final months of 2012 were super for donations, Barks knows what to expect now that we’re in January.
“The phones get quiet, the financial contributions dwindle, the food donations dwindle and so the heavy lifting does begin,” Barks says. “It becomes very difficult. We are able to stretch the holiday donations that we have through probably February and maybe into March.”
The Food Bank for the Heartland serves more than 325 food pantries, emergency shelters and senior housing sites in 93 counties across Nebraska and western Iowa.
The food bank also operates several independent programs that include Back Pack, Food for Seniors, Kids Cafe, Mobile Pantry and Fresh Produce.