A food bank that supplies dozens of homeless shelters and pantries in western Iowa is seeing a big uptick in the number of people it’s serving. Jewel Knapp, development director at the Omaha Food Bank, says the high price of gasoline and groceries translates to empty shelves at her facility.
Knapp says: "There are a couple of pantries that have doubled the numbers of people they’re serving from the numbers they were serving in February. The smallest increase was a 32-percent increase over previous months. Definitely, it’s on the rise." Knapp says they usually see an increase in the need for food during the summer months, but this spike is well beyond that.
"Normally, we see the increase from all of the children being out of school which means now they’re all eating breakfast and lunch at home which lots of times they got some of that in school," Knapp says. "In the past, there has always been a natural increase but the increase we are seeing now doesn’t even count the children and probably by the end of June we will see another 20 to 30-percent increase." Knapp says people who never before visited a food bank now are stopping in and seeing what’s available.
Knapp says: "It’s people that are working full time and in a family, both people could be working. It’s that extra 20 to 30-dollars that it costs to fill their gas tank. They have to have the gas to get to work to get to their jobs and the only place they can pull those dollars from is from their food budget." The Omaha Food Bank supplies food items to 360 shelters and food pantries in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.