LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The Food Bank of Lincoln serves 16 counties in southeastern Nebraska. As well as their signature food bank drive-through, they also have a backpack program designed to feed the kids over the weekend, but they haven’t been able to get started this school year yet.
The Backpack program caters to around 3,000 children and usually starts in the last week of August, or the first week of September. Now, organizers said, the program would not restart until October.
In the back room of the Church of the First Congregation in Crete, boxes of food were stacked to the ceiling. It costs around 12 weeks, and it hasn’t reached the nearly 110 children in Crete who usually get this bag.
“I’m really worried because I’m not sure, and I think the food bank isn’t sure when we can start,” said Sharon Crouse, organizer of the Crete Backpack Program.
The delay was caused by reserves with the food bank.
“When this pandemic hit, food banks began to see an increase in demand for food, but sources of food; everybody’s trying to get to that food source, “said Alynn Sampson, Lincoln’s food bank.” We had food delays so we needed to be sent here to get our backpack program. So that the delay in eating has resulted in delays in the backpack program. “
In Lincoln, there is almost daily food collection via the drive-thru, but in the countryside this is not the case. That’s why this backpack is so important.
“We know food insecurity is happening in that rural community, and there is no food source there like the one in Lincoln every day,” Sampson said. “So for us, when we had to say, okay what are our priorities for the program backpack, country or Lincoln, it was an easy choice for us to choose the countryside because if we only went out once a month, we knew for those families it wasn’t. enough. “
Meanwhile, volunteers in Crete have been handing out grocery vouchers to fill the void, as these backpacks aren’t just for feeding the kids who bring them home.
“We don’t know how many people there are in each family, and they hope to get through the weekend with what’s in the bag,” said Crouse.
They said they were more than ready to start giving food to the children who needed it most. The backpack will be launched on October 9.
“There are families who wonder if I have to pay rent, buy medicine, buy food,” said Crouse. “I hope we help meet that need.”
There are five different menu options that come with things like vouchers for eggs or bread. Crouse said it was sad to know children were starving, but there wasn’t much he could do. She is happy now that her program is back up and running.
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