High gas prices impact Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro food pantries

High gas prices impact Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro food pantries

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – High gas prices are impacting us all, but they’re causing a lot of problems for food banks in the metro.

Millions of meals come out of the foodbank for the heartland warehouse each year. An entire team of truckers transports the food to pantries across Nebraska and parts of Iowa.

Stephanie Sullivan with Food Bank for the Heartland says now that gas prices are soaring, it’s starting to impact operations.

“In the last half of 2021 we spent 35% more than budgeted in fuel and 20% more than budgeted in freight, and that was before this huge spike in gas prices so this is really going to affect us,” Sullivan said.

Leaders with the Food Bank for the Heartland say they are trying to cut costs where they can to afford the high gas prices. They say no matter what, they will continue to serve those facing food insecurity.

But for smaller organizations like Story Street Food Pantry, the price at the pump is forcing them to make tough calls.

“We have to start making decisions on where we can go and whether or not we can expand our operations,” Story Street Food Pantry Executive Director Loren Knauss said.

The increase in gas prices is taking a toll on Omaha-metro food pantries.

The high cost of gas isn’t just impacting the budget for food pantries, it’s impacting those who need food the most.

“Now the people that lost a lot of money and were hurt financially during the pandemic are dealing with high gas prices, they are dealing with inflation. We are going to start seeing more people and a larger need in the coming months, unfortunately.”

Now food pantries are left to deal with how to juggle limited financial resources and a growing need in the community.

Both the Food Bank for the Heartland and Story Street pantry say they wouldn’t be able to continue operations without the help of donors in the community.

They say they are thankful for those able to give back, especially during such a difficult time.

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