Brian Barks will take over as CEO of the Omaha-based agency on July 1st and says they face many challenges making sure that no one goes to bed hungry. Barks says one of the biggest challenges is trucking the food across a wide area.
“Our guys are driving all the way out to the Panhandle of Nebraska and we serve a good chunk of western Iowa,” Barks says. “Our guys are doing about 30,000 miles a month. We’re sometimes paying more for freight than we are for the food that we buy.” Barks says they’re two drivers short right now and are in touch with truck driving schools to find more.
“The explosion in the cost of transportation in the trucking industry can have serious implications in regards to what we do,” he says. Barks says they’re looking forward with a long-range hunger forecast.
“We’ve done a ten-year strategic plan that estimates how much food we need and it is 39-and-a-half million meals,” he says. “We’re doing 25-and-a-half million, so we’ve got about 14-million meals in order to get to a point where we have enough food for people to access.”
The Food Bank for the Heartland distributes food to 535 non-profit groups, including schools, homeless shelters and food pantries in 92 counties across Nebraska and Iowa.
(Thanks to Karla James, Omaha)