Dramatic Increases At Nebraska Food Pantries

Due to high gas prices, more people are having a hard time stocking their pantries.  Jewel Knapp with the Omaha Food Bank says the number of people seeking food assistance is skyrocketing.  The Omaha Food Bank provides supplies for 360 food pantries in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.  She says the food banks are reporting anywhere from a 32 to 50-percent increase in the number of people since February requesting food.  Most of that increase is new people needing food for themselves or families.  Knapp says these people are working and many times from two income families.  However, the price of gas has them dipping into their food budget to fill their gas tanks so they can get to work.  Complicating issues is that the food dollar does not go as far due to an increase in prices at the grocery store.  People are going to the food pantries to get the supplies they can no longer afford.  Knapp says they usually see a 20 to 30 percent jump in need when summer starts as kids are out of school and more meals are consumed at home.  She says this latest jump happened before school dismissed for the summer.  By the end of June, food supplies could become scarce.