The number of families visiting the Center for People in Need for supplemental food has been steadily increasing since last fall.
“We’re consistently processing new applications,” said Steve Sheridan, the Center’s deputy director. “Last month, we processed 356 new applications for families seeking assistance at the Center.”
The Center distributes food and diapers at its facility at 3901 N. 27th Street six times each week—Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and an additional Tuesday evening distribution from 4 to 6 p.m.
“We started to see the number of families attending our food distributions decline last summer,” said executive director Chris Funk. “The pandemic was waning and the economy started to get back to normal. But that decline quickly turned and began increasing again as we saw gas and food prices increase. And it hasn’t stopped.”
Last month, the Center served 2,488 families at their weekly food distributions. This month, more than 2,600 families received food.
“Our attendance numbers haven’t been this high since the depths of the pandemic in September of 2020,” said Funk.
“We hate to see an increase in our distribution attendance, but with the recent hiccup in unemployment checks, we could see yet another influx of new families,” said Sheridan.
Sheridan is referring to the recent issue of the State of Nebraska Department of Labor’s unemployment claims system being taken offline, resulting in the delayed release of unemployment insurance benefits.
Families in need of food or diapers can visit the Center during regular distribution hours, complete a quick, 5-minute application and receive a selection of food and/or diapers, as needed. A paper application is available at the Center or complete an online application prior to visiting at cfpin.org/center-card.
The Center is open through Friday, July 1, but will be closed Monday, July 4 in observation of the holiday. Distribution will open again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
“It could be a busy day,” said Sheridan. “With prices rising, the issue with unemployment checks, and a holiday weekend—it could, unfortunately, be a perfect storm of need.”
The Center for People in Need provides the basic needs and educational opportunities necessary for people to become financially independent. As the Food Bank of Lincoln’s largest partner, the Center provided more than 3 million pounds of food to 5,405 families in need last year. The Junior League of Lincoln Diaper Bank, of which the Center is both founding partner and the operational arm, provided almost 300,000 diapers to other nonprofit organizations and directly to families struggling with diaper need, and educational programs at the Center helped more than 350 people improve their employment prospects in 2021.