MASS Spotlight: Drive-thru Food Pantries
“Buying food gets expensive,” said Patricia, a mother of four children, who attended the drive-thru food pantry at the Burrows Center for Help and Hope earlier this year. “When I run short, it really helps to be able to come here.”
Patricia was one of hundreds who attended one of the drive-thru food pantries at the Burrows Center – which is part of The Salvation Army’s Material Assistance and Seasons Services (MASS) program – this summer. The events were organized as a safe, socially distant means for people to get the help they need amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participants stayed in their cars as staff and volunteers placed the food boxes in their trunks or back seats.
Patricia acknowledged that the drive-thru approach helped her feel safer. “We are mostly staying in the house because I worry about the kids and myself, so this was wonderful. You just pull up, they put the food in and then you can leave,” she said.
More than 12% of individuals in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro experience food insecurity, meaning they do not consistently know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity rates reach as high as 48.5% in areas of north and south Omaha, according to the United Way of the Midlands. These statistics apply to a normal year. Now, as families experience job loss and financial challenges during the pandemic, the need for food is increasing.
“We’re continuing to see families who are finding themselves financially challenged, and for many of them, this is a place they’ve never been before,” said Salvation Army Western Divisional Secretary Maj. Adam Moore. “The dollar isn’t stretching as far as it used to. People can use some extra assistance right now, and The Salvation Army is honored to help meet that need.”
The Salvation Army’s MASS program provides assistance when times are tough by offering food, clothing, household items, help paying for prescription medications, utility assistance and seasonal services. Our goal is to help those who are struggling stay afloat until financial stability can be achieved. For more information about MASS, visit our Burrows Center for Help and Hope website.