By Patricia Jones, Task Force on Poverty
During these uncertain times, it seems like a good opportunity to review the food resources available to people who are experiencing food insecurity. Food is available both as prepared meals and as items for people to take home and prepare.
Community Table continues to feed people from the Masonic Center, no charge, no reservation, Monday through Friday, 11:30-12:30. Enter the alley from Laramie Street, and meals will be brought to your vehicle. Delivery can be arranged for those with health or transportation issues. Call Whitney at 308-455-9175 to set up an interview if you require delivery service. About 125 are served daily.
The Nutrition Site at the Alliance Senior Center offers meals for $4.00 for seniors, $8.00 for under age 60, Monday through Friday, with financial assistance available. Delivery arrangements can be made, or you may choose the grab n go option. Call 308-762-1293 or 308-762-8774 to reserve a meal the day before or to schedule for the week. About 70 are served daily.
Meals on Wheels continues to be available through Box Butte General Hospital for persons who are shut in or physically unable to prepare food themselves. Therapeutic meals are offered for those on a special diet. Call 308-762-4357 ext. 3360 for this service.
Hemingford Public Schools has elected to not provide a summer meal program. Their head cook retired, and in previous years there has not been enough response to fulfill the federal grant requirements.
Alliance Public Schools will continue serving meals until June 30 to all children 18 and younger, including preschoolers and students from other school systems. People are asked to enter the Middle School driveway from W. 12th St. and exit on Box Butte. Meals may be picked up 11:30-12:30 Monday through Friday. Each day kids receive lunch and breakfast for the next day, and six meals are given on Fridays. Families who need to be on the delivery list should phone the Administration Building at 308-762-5475. About 400 meals are served daily.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is coordinated through Health and Human Services, dhhs.ne.gov/pages/accessnebraska.aspx. Northwest Community Action Partnership (NWCAP) will assist people in completing applications, 308-762-4523. The federal government has increased funding for another month.
The USDA offers an additional program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five. Contact Western Community Health Resources (WCHR) at 308-762-3696 for application information.
WCHR also coordinates the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for low income seniors. Qualifying seniors may pick up a set of non-perishable groceries every other month. You must apply in advance for the July commodity deliveries. Call WCHR at 308-762-3696.
The Hemingford Ministerial Council organizes a food pantry for Hemingford area residents. The food pantry is in the northwest corner of the long white building behind the Mobius/ Hemingford Telephone office building and is open from 4:00-6:00 pm every Thursday. The food pantry has been funded by grants from Westco and Land O Lakes, and Hemingford residents donate funds and non-perishable food items. Following set guidelines, the Ministerial Council can also provide people with a one time only assistance with rent, utilities, prescriptions or gas cards for emergency travel.
The Extra Helpings Food Pantry in Alliance is operated by Northwest Community Action Partnership (NWCAP) and is located at 1028 E 3rd St in Alliance in Building C, Rooms 100 and 200. The pantry is open Monday and Wednesday 9:30-noon, 1:00-3:00; and Friday 9:30-noon. Twice a month a household can pick up boxes of food. Items vary but generally include dry goods, canned vegetables, macaroni, and a protein item, frozen or canned meat. When distancing is no longer required, clients will be able to choose groceries from the shelves. To sign up, phone 308-762-4523. Proof of income is required. On Wednesdays the pantry makes deliveries to people with special needs. The Extra Helpings Food Pantry currently serves 153 families, 354 individuals, including all Head Start families.
Native Futures at 217 Box Butte Ave in Alliance can provide food assistance to anyone with children at home under age 18. The Santee Sioux Nation can also provide help for rent, utilities, and other emergency needs. Phone 308-760-2563 or 308-458-7795.
Two groups in Alliance receive food being removed from grocery store shelves to redistribute to those in need. The Break Free Agape Fellowship Food Pantry is located in the Young Life building at 214 W 10th St in Alliance. Contact your pastor or Russell at 308-641-6694 for information. Waste Not is a new program which will begin this summer and can be reached at 308-530-5333.
A Box Butte County Food Resource Guide is kept up to date on the United Way website at www.uwwn.org/emergency-resources (click on Box Butte County). These organizations are all open and available, so if your household needs assistance, reach out!