LINCOLN, Neb – Governor Pete Ricketts authorized the Nebraska National Guard to deploy soldiers to Food Bank of Lincoln to help pack critical meals for Nebraska’s rapidly growing number of food- insecure children, families and seniors.
“The Food Bank of Lincoln is grateful for the support of the Nebraska National Guard. The needs of those struggling with food insecurity is rising rapidly,” said Food Bank Executive Director Scott Young. “Having Nebraska National Guard soldiers lending a hand will enable our organization to get more food to more people.”
Beginning on April 21st, more than 50 soldiers from the Nebraska National Guard are reporting to a Nebraska National Guard warehouse to augment bag packing operations.
Soldiers are packing thousands of pounds of shelf stable foods in community packs to be distributed across the Food Bank’s 16 county service area to individuals and families in need through the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Distribution program, which is operating using a drive-thru model during the pandemic.
Community packs are approximately 20-pound bags filled with nonperishable staple items with 10 or more pounds of perishable foods added at the distribution. Currently, Food Bank staff, divided into teams of no more than 10 individuals, are assembling approximately 1,000 community packs each week. The influx of soldier support resulted in achieving that amount in just one day.
Social distancing is being practiced in the food-packing environment and at distributions, and, as always, hand washing and adherence to food safety guidelines are paramount.
“We are proud to assist our neighbors in need,” said Nebraska National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac. “In many different ways, COVID-19 has impacted every community across our state.”
Nebraska National Guard soldiers have also been deployed to Food Bank for the Heartland to assist with operations. Food Bank of Lincoln and Food Bank for the Heartland worked together to make a request for National Guard support in this unprecedented time. The total National Guard deployment for Nebraska food banks is 69 personnel for a 31-day deployment beginning April 20, 2020, with the possibility of an extension.
Typically, more than 220,000 Nebraskans are food insecure and may not have regular access to the meals needed for a healthy lifestyle. The estimated number of clients being served by Nebraska’s Food Banks has grown 38 percent compared to a year ago as this public health crisis impacts household budgets.
Visit https://www.lincolnfoodbank.org/get-food/food-distribution-schedule/ for information about supplemental food resources and opportunities to make a financial donation to Food Bank of Lincoln.
Below are details for the remainder of this week’s events, and an event in York next week.
- Only one member per household, unless you have physical limitations.
- Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other individuals.
- All available food will be pre-bagged. You must take the complete bag without exception.
- Food Bank staff cannot and will not accept individual items back once they have been distributed.
- We will distribute food in a drive-thru model. Please note: We are taking the health and safety of our staff extremely seriously. Therefore, staff will not be allowed to carry product to or lift product into vehicles. The Nebraska National Guard soldiers place items into trunks of vehicles only.
- Do not approach Food Bank tables or vehicles. We will designate safe distances from where you can collect your bag of food.
- Do whatever YOU can do to help stop the spread of germs and disease, including these basic practices:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.