Local food pantries received a boost from the North Platte Noon Rotary Club on Thursday.
The group received a grant from the Rotary International Foundation and used matching club funds to begin the project with $5,000 to purchase food. Gary Suhr, owner of Gary’s Super Foods, donated an additional $1,000 and helped order the food at a discount.
“With that, we were able to purchase 282 cases of food to be distributed amongst five different pantries in town,” said Kendi McClain, chairperson of the club’s Foundation Committee. “With all that’s going on with COVID-19 in our community and the need that we have seen, we decided this was a good project just to help the community and do what we are here to do, which is serve.”
The pantries receiving the food are Salvation Army, Grace Ministries, North Platte High School pantry, North Platte Catholic Community Food Pantry and the Mobile Food Pantry.
Club members loaded a trailer at Gary’s Super Foods in Westfield Shopping Center and distributed the food to the various pantries.
Jennifer Swoboda, director of the North Platte Catholic Community Food Pantry, was on hand for the distribution.
“It’s wonderful,” Swoboda said. “I’m constantly amazed at how generous people here in North Platte are and the surrounding communities.”
She said there has been an uptick in the last couple of weeks of new families coming in.
“We’ve had a few people come to us who have moved here from out of state,” Swoboda said, “so this will really help.”
Swoboda said there hadn’t been a rise in numbers of people seeking food during the pandemic, but more recently that is changing.
“I’m sure when the unemployment diminishes, when that extra money is gone,” Swoboda said, “we’ll see even more coming in.”
Donations coming into the pantry have been holding steady, Swoboda said.
“We had the Giving Day recently and we got over $5,000 from that,” Swoboda said. “Then Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation on top of that gave us a $5,000 grant, and we’ve had a lot of community donations.”