Lending a helping hand in Lincoln

Fighting hunger locally

Kyle Berg

One in eight.

As Thanksgiving approaches and we set our sights on gorging ourselves with stuffing, turkey and mashed potatoes, let’s keep this statistic in mind. This number, given by FeedingAmerica.org, represents the number of people in Lincoln, Nebraska, who are struggling with hunger.

There are 925 million people in the world who are undernourished. That means 13.1 percent of the world is taking in less than 2,100 calories a day. 248,100 of those people are found right here in the state of Nebraska. While that may seem like a drop in the bucket, those are people we can help.

Just 15 minutes from Union College down North 48th Street, the Food Bank of Lincoln is ready and waiting for volunteers like us to help reduce and eliminate the number of those suffering from hunger.

The Food Bank of Lincoln sponsors the Neighborhood FOOD program, which serves about 1,300 families per week at four sites in some of the poorest areas in Lincoln. If you are looking to get involved in this program, one site, the Malone Community Center, is just 12 minutes away on North 22nd and U Streets.

If you are looking for something good to do on Sabbath, link up with the First Presbyterian Church and Jacob’s Well at the F Street Recreation Center. About 50 volunteers from these two faith-based groups come together and feed around 350 families from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every first and third Sabbath; you could even make it back in time for second service.

The BackPack program, also offered through the Food Bank of Lincoln, exists to help meet the nutritional needs of students in low-income families. Many of the students in this program receive two meals a day at school at a reduced cost or no cost at all, but they need the proper sustenance to carry them through the weekend while they are not in school.

We can help meet the needs of students all around the Lincoln area by providing financial support or donating food or a backpack to the Food Bank of Lincoln. The cost to sponsor a child for one year is $200 dollars; for a semester, $100; for a month, $25; and for a week, just $5.88—less than a combo burrito at D’Leons. So the next time you feel the late night urge for super fries and an horchata, make a PB&J instead and go to www.lincolnfoodbank.org and click the financial support link. And to learn more about the other programs offered by the Food Bank of Lincoln, visit www.lincolnfoodbank.org/programs.

Whether it be our time or our money, there is always the opportunity to give one or both to the cause of ending food insecurity in the world. And it begins right outside our front door.

Kyle is a senior studying language arts education.