Heartland United Way donates over 11,000 pounds of food to local food pantries

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Food insecurity is a growing problem around the country and also right here in central Nebraska. Heartland United Way is doing their part to help by donating 11,000 pounds of food to local food pantries and homeless shelters. They'd been collecting for the last ten days, including at a booth during Husker Harvest Days.

A volunteer with Howard Greeley County Food Pantry collects food from United Way. (Credit: Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)

The Howard Greeley County Food Pantry was just one of the groups picking up donations. They say food drives like this really helps them out throughout the year.

"Right now our shelves are getting pretty low," Barb Stefanowicz with the Howard Greeley County Food Pantry said. "Otherwise we have to have fundraisers and some way of raising money to buy it because we have to buy it otherwise. If it wasn't for this, the expense and cost of keeping things on the shelf would be very expensive."

"I love seeing them come out of the trailer full of food," Cammie Benson, the Director Of Community Engagement with Heartland United Way, said. "They always say our shelves are completely empty so that's really exciting. I just say take all you can carry because we have a lot of food here and we want to make sure you guys are stocked for an entire year."

Roughly 1 in 10 central Nebraskans suffer from food insecurity. This means they don't know where their next meal will come from. The number was a bit higher than usual this year after flood damage set many people back financially.

"If you think about all the funds that people set aside for food, that might not have been the case this year if they had to pay for basements or other flood damage," Benson said. "This is a way to subsidise that they can spread their dollar a little more this year."