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Food pantry sees surge of people in need


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    OMAHA, Nebraska (WOWT) — While Congress tries to figure out whether your next COVID stimulus payment will be $600 or $2,000, those struggling here in the metro are waiting hours in line just to pick up some food.

“We come early because we know the line is going to be long,” said Jane Hout.

Especially long this day, the majority of food pantries were closed over Christmas, driving up the need.

“I don’t know if we were necessarily expecting the dramatic extra cars,” said Mike Hornacek, President and CEO of Together Inc.’

Together Inc. now serves nearly 4 times the number of people in 2020 than they would in a typical year.

“You know to tie it to the stimulus that was signed last night, maybe there’s a little bit of relief there,” said Hornacek.

It’s a relief to those in line as well. Shawn Anderson lost his job due to the pandemic and hasn’t been able to find consistent work since.

“And that’s where the food pantries helped us out because I wouldn’t know what we’d do without it honestly,” said Anderson.

And as Congress debates how much your next stimulus check will be, people in this line say there should be no question about it.

“It’s really how much we’re going to hand straight over for rent, for our place, because we’re behind right now,” said Anderson.

And Together Inc.’s CEO says this COVID relief package will only go so far.

“I don’t think it will change the need that we see, I think it will keep things status quo, which is good because we have all we can handle right now,” said Hornacek.

He says a lot more will be needed with so many people still relying on pantries like this.

“It gives us at least the basics of what we need, and what we can have to survive this,” said Anderson.

The Together Food Pantry will be closed tomorrow because of the winter storm moving in. They are doing all they can today to get as much food out to people as possible. Like most pantries in the metro, they will be closed over New Years’.

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