Finding free meals across Nebraska during school closures

Kid with fruit cups

Schools may be closed during Fall Break, but pantries and emergency food distributions are still wide open!

This is a guest blog by Appleseed’s Economic Justice Intern Jazon Ezell.

School meals are a consistent source of healthy and nutritious foods for many students and families. During school breaks, some families struggle with finding access to these options. Emergency food pantries and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are both great resources for Nebraska individuals and families.

Statewide Pantries and Food Resources

The resources below contain information about statewide pantries that are open during school breaks in communities near you. Just follow the link and find the closest location!

Tricities Area (Grand Island, Hastings, & Kearney):

Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska:

Omaha and Greater Nebraska:

For additional food pantries and assistance throughout Nebraska: 

  • Call the United Way of the Midlands’s free statewide text number, 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898211 to find a list of local food distributions and their hours of operation. 2-1-1’s resource database can also be found online at unitedwaymidlands.org/2-1-1/.
  • The USDA’s Meals 4 Kids map shares open site information but also includes open meal sites across the US.
  • The USDA National Hunger Hotline remains a helpful resource for people seeking food assistance. The hotline, operated by Hunger Free America, can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET (6 a.m. to 9 p.m. GMT). at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) en Español.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 

On May 26, 2021, Nebraska passed a law that increases the income limit for the SNAP program from 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 165% (see chart below). The net income limit remains 100% FPL for all households (Net Income = gross income minus deductions like dependent care, earned income, etc.).

If you think you may qualify for SNAP, you can apply using the Nebraska Food Banks’ SNAP Outreach Hotline at (855) 444-5556. To apply online, visit ACCESSNebraska.ne.gov. 

For more information, please contact our Economic Justice Program Manager for Food and Nutrition Access, Eric Savaiano at (402) 438-8853 ext. 126 or esavaiano@neappleseed.org.

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