Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today thanked the local nonprofits that are helping to feed the community during the pandemic. She also urged those with financial resources to support the local nonprofit agencies that are seeing an increased need. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the nonprofits are not accepting volunteers or donations of food at this time, but funding is needed to serve the growing number of families who need help.
"Food security is a concern for some Lincoln residents in the best of times and has become even more of a concern for many during this pandemic," Mayor Gaylor Baird said. "We know that the need for food in our community is growing as unemployment increases and our friends and neighbors face unprecedented economic challenges. We want everyone to know that there are resources available for those who are struggling."
Scott Young, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Lincoln, said the Food Bank and its agencies are now serving more than 4,500 households per week. He said Lancaster County is home to 40,000 people who are food insecure.
"We are estimating a 20 to 25 percent increase in need in the short term and an increase of 30 to 35 percent over six months," Young said. "A 35 percent increase would increase the number of food insecure people in our community to more than 54,000." More information on the Food Bank is available at lincolnfoodbank.org.
Young sent all the Food Bank volunteers home as a precaution, and he thanked the Nebraska National Guard for its assistance this week. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is also working on the issue, and also secured the Nebraska National Guard's help with food packaging and distribution at the Center for People in Need.
The Mayor also recognized Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) which has adapted to the pandemic by offering "grab and go" breakfasts and lunches for anyone age 18 or younger. Meals are also available to persons with disabilities, ages 18 to 21, who participate in LPS programs. Edith Zumwalt, Director of Nutrition Services at LPS, said each child received five breakfast and five lunch at the weekly distribution each Monday. This past Monday, she said, more than 52,000 meals were distributed at 14 sites in the community. Families are able to stay in their cars for the drive-through service. More information is available at lps.org (keyword: food).
Those needing food assistance can use the MyLNK app to find a full listing of food distribution sites and times. More information on services in the community is available on the Resident Resources page at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.
The Mayor advised those who want to donate to nonprofits to visit the websites of the organizations. The Lincoln Covid-19 Response Fund is also providing grants to local nonprofits, and so far has provided funding to many agencies providing food assistance, including Catholic Social Services, the Center for People in Need, Community Action Partnership, the Food Bank, the Food Fort, Foodnet, Good Neighbor Community Center, Peoples City Mission, and the Salvation Army. Donations are accepted at lcf.org, and more information is available on the How to Help page at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.