COVID-19 leads to increase in food assistance demand in Lincoln
The Food Bank of Lincoln is prepared to help families in need of food assistance this holiday season.
On Wednesday, Hy-Vee stores donated a total of 1 million pounds to a combined 17 food banks across the Midwest. The Food Bank of Lincoln received a portion of that donation. Representatives at the Lincoln food bank say that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on food assistance demand in the city this year.
“It certainly has contributed to it,” John Mabry said. Mabry is the development director at the Food Bank of Lincoln. He says that people who never envisioned needing food assistance are stopping by distribution centers for help.
“Folks obviously losing jobs and dealing with health issues and all that has really led to a lot of folks coming to our distribution centers who have never been before,” Mabry said. “We’re seeing a lot of folks who are saying ‘This is my first time, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help?’”
According to data provided by the Food Bank of Lincoln, the food bank has distributed 9,235,434 pounds of food from March to October. Due to the pandemic, the food bank has had to change their method of distributing food.
“We’re doing drive-thru distributions pretty much every day, sometimes two a day, and we don’t ask a lot of questions,” Mabry said. “We don’t ask any questions. You just pull up, open your trunk and we’ll fill it with some good stuff to help folks through the holiday season.”
Representatives at the Food Bank of Lincoln tell Channel 8 that that they noticed an increase in demand over the Thanksgiving holiday, and wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true for Christmas as well. Their message to people in need?
“We’re here for you,” Mabry said. “You can come to our drive-thru distributions. They don’t have to show us anything. We’re happy to fill their trunks with lots of good stuff to get through the holidays.”
The Food Bank of Lincoln serves 16 the following counties in Southeast Nebraska: Polk, York, Fillmore, Thayer, Butler, Seward, Saline, Jefferson, Saunders, Lancaster, Gage, Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Nemaha and Richardson.
You can see the Food Bank of Lincoln’s upcoming distribution schedule with locations and times here.