Food Bank for the Heartland is both the Mission and Hunger Partner for the month of February. Did you know that over 25,000 people receive emergency food assistance from Food Bank for the Heartland in any given week? That’s roughly the population of Papillion. Here are a few more sobering statistics:
66% of clients served by the Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food or paying for utilities.
Approximately 20% of all children in Nebraska & western Iowa are at-risk for hunger and about 1 in 5 (about 88,000) children under the age of 18 goes to bed hungry every night in the Greater Omaha area.
18% of the clients served in Nebraska are age 60 or older. 28% of the clients in the area served by the Food Bank have a post-high school education. Food Bank for the Heartland is the largest food bank in Nebraska & Iowa, encompassing 93 counties in the two-state region. In FY 2014, 15.9 million pounds of food were distributed to 285 food pantries, emergency shelters, meal providers and after-school programs in the community. That number is an increase of 3.2 million pounds from the previous year.
Did you know that only 2% of the food is donated by individuals? The majority is donated by manufacturers (46%) and the next largest amount is purchased by the Food Bank (26%.) Any donations of monies in February will be sent to the Food Bank. If you can’t donate dollars, maybe you can donate time. During FY 2014, over 31,000 hours of volunteer hours were received by the Food Bank. (Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age.) Those hours are the equivalent of 15 full-time employees! If you can’t donate dollars or time, maybe you can donate food. Here are some of the most needed items: peanut butter; macaroni & cheese; canned tuna & chicken; cereal; pancake mix; canned fruits & veggies; pasta & sauce and box meals. And if you can’t do any of those, please be in prayer for the Food Bank and the clients it serves.
The January Red Cross Blood Drive was a success. 38 pints of whole blood were collected, potentially saving 114 lives. An FYI to donors: if you visit certain locations in the Caribbean, you will be deferred for one year minimum. (Red Cross has a concern about visitors contracting malaria.)
Big thanks are due to the volunteers who manned the table (Loren & Lynne Ilg, Guy Shelton, Darla Holycross), those who helped carry (Amanda Wise, Natalie and Grant Ivey), those who provided food (Mary McClean, Rita Wright, Susie Hollman, Jan Blimling, and Jennie and Ben Wiehe) and those who helped by providing and/or attempting to provide blood. Some folks did all of the above, even if they’re just mentioned once. And thanks to those who stopped by and provided encouragement, and to the donors from Holy Cross Lutheran and Maplewood United Methodist Church, without whose participation we would not have nearly the good stats that we did.
Did you attend the dinner at PCM on New Year’s Eve? I have sources who told me that about 125 people did! Who knew the Fellowship Hall could hold that many tables and chairs? Fabulous food, fellowship, entertainment; what a wonderful way to end the year! Chef Matt & Table Grace received $3100.00 from that event! Matt tells us that translates into 516 meals at Table Grace for those who cannot pay, or it can put 4 people through the 10-day training program. Special thanks to the following: Cindy Denton & Deb Burg for the help provided in organizing the dinner; Jeff Koerten, Brad Denton, Doug Swartz-Brown, Jean Heins, Gay Emry & Marge Cox for help in arranging and decorating the hall; Maddie & Jamie
Sutula for the beautiful background music, all the helping hands who helped to clean up; & to all who attended or provided dollars for eight Table Grace clients to attend & share their stories. Finally, kudos to Jean Koerten, who had the
vision to bring this event into being.