Council Bluffs area residents who don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight will have a good excuse for going out for the evening meal. This is the 6th annual Dine Out Against Hunger event, which Jewell Knapp (NAP), at the Omaha Food Bank, says helps raise money to re-stock dozens of homeless shelters and food pantries in western Iowa.

"For each person who goes out to eat at one of the participating restaurants, ten-percent of their bill gets directly donated to the food bank," Knapp says. There are more than 170 Omaha/Council Bluffs-area restaurants that are taking part. She says the event continues to grow in its scope each year.

Knapp says, "Last year, we raised $32,000 and over the six years, we have come close to $60,000." She says it’s an especially important event this year as they are seeing about a 40% increase in the use of area food pantries in recent weeks. Knapp says many of the new users have families and jobs.

"They’ve never gone to a food pantry before," she says. "They’re feeling a little embarrassed about it and thought that they would never find themselves in a situation where they needed help." The Omaha Food Bank supplies food items to 360 shelters and food pantries in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.