More People Turning to Food Banks in Lincoln

April 20, 2022, 4 p.m. ·

Inside of the Food Bank of Lincoln warehouse.
Inside the Food Bank of Lincoln. (Photo by Dylan Tilley, Nebraska Public Media)

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Nebraska issued its final payments for public health emergency food stamps in August of last year. In turn, more people are now leaning on food banks for help.

Since the end of last year, more and more households are relying on food donations in southeast Nebraska, according to the Food Bank of Lincoln. The organization said it's caused by a lack of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

President and CEO of the Food Bank of Lincoln, Michaella Kumke, said it was an aggressive decision for Nebraska to lift its state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, because the state loses federal funding for food stamps.

“It was based on the idea of getting life back to normal, but if it's normal to have Nebraska's unsure about where their next meal is going to come from - some might consider that normal but it sure isn't right,” Kumke said. “We know that we have the resources to do better, and we think that we should work together to respond differently, not normally.”

She said increasing costs for food, fuel, and medicine add stress to Nebraska families, too.

Rising costs lead to falling donation numbers. More than half of food banks in the U.S. report decreasing contributions in the past six months.

Kumke said the Food Bank and its partner agencies worry there won’t be enough food to meet demand, when the school year ends and kids don’t get meals at school.