Drive-up pantry feeds hundreds of people in need at Fonner Park

Published: May. 9, 2020 at 6:22 PM CDT
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Food Bank for the Heartland partnered with the Loaves and Fishes Ministry at Trinity Methodist Church and the Nebraska National Guard to host a free drive-up mobile pantry at Fonner Park. The food drive began at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 12:30 p.m.

Food Bank for the Heartland is headquartered in Omaha but partners with over 600 food pantries, emergency shelters and schools across the state of Nebraska. They brought almost a thousand food packs with them which cost 50,000 dollars to execute. The largest single-day distribution in the Food Bank's history. They received the money from donors.

Food Bank for the Heartland says if you seek their help, you'll get it.

"Being able to help our neighbors all across the state is a blessing. I believe I was put on this earth to serve and I think that's what we're called to do," said Brian Barks, President of Food for the Heartland.

Residents waited patiently in the parking lot and some as early as 6:30 in the morning. They drove up with their trunk and car doors wide open. Volunteers placed the food in their cars and each of them received a box of non-perishable items, fresh produce and bread.

The Coronavirus has made it hard for them to receive food donations. They've spent 10 times more than what they normally do on food. Normally they spend 80,000 a month, now they spend 800,000.

To keep up with demand they asked the National Guard for help and without hesitation soldiers and airmen volunteered almost instantly.

"We had zero problem getting volunteers from our forces in the air-guard and army guard. These soldiers you see behind me, are working diligently with this mission," said Lieutenant Colonel Chuck McWilliams, Heartland Responses Commander, Nebraska National Guard.

Food Bank for the Heartland is grateful for all the help they received to make this happen.

"It's our job to acquire the food and distribute it. So to have somebody on this end to be able to do it and to have a partner like this to be able to distribute and serve this many families, couldn't ask for more," said President Barks.