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A Message from Susan Ogborn

For the first time since we’ve been keeping records there are more food insecure people per capita in our rural communities than there are in our urban communities.  When I first came to the Food Bank, common wisdom was “there aren’t any hungry people in western Nebraska; they grow their own food and take care of themselves.”  But as we know, most of the food we grow in Nebraska isn’t for people, it’s for livestock.  And while rural communities want very much to “take care of their own,” after 10 years of increasing need, even the most dedicated and vibrant communities are feeling challenged to do so.

According to the Department of Labor, unemployment rates in Nebraska are at a new low, somewhere around 3%.  But the wage rates in Nebraska, when adjusted for inflation, are actually lower than they were before the recession started in 2008.  We are working, a lot, but we’re getting farther behind financially.

According to the 2015 Voices for Children report, 1 in 5 children in rural Nebraska and Iowa live in food insecure households, and 41% live in poverty. How can we be surprised that 3rd graders can’t read and 8th graders can’t do basic mathematics when 1 in every 3 to 5 of them are hungry and malnourished? What vision for the future do we give our children when both of their parents work full-time and still gross less than $31,000 a year?  Giving strength to working adults, giving the foundation for dreams to hungry children, that is what you do when you share your time and treasure with Food Bank for the Heartland. 

Susan E. Ogborn
President & CEO

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