About Us

 

MISSION

To provide emergency and supplemental food
to the people in need in Nebraska and western Iowa.

VISION

To eliminate hunger in our community.

VALUES

In everything we do,
we serve with respect, integrity and urgency.

 
 

Our History

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Food Bank for the Heartland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that distributes food to 535 food pantries, schools, emergency shelters and other nonprofit partners. We are the largest food bank in Nebraska and Iowa, serving 93 counties in the two-state region.

Fighting hunger is an ongoing, collaborative effort. We work with individuals, organizations, food manufacturers and distributors, grocery stores, the USDA and Feeding America to procure food. The Food Bank also purchases food to supplement donations. For every dollar we receive, we can provide three meals.

Food Bank for the Heartland operates its own programs that serve vulnerable populations directly. They include Kids Cafe, BackPack, Mobile Pantry, SNAP and Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen. As the number of hungry children, families and seniors increases, these programs expand to meet the growing need.

We moved to our current 76,000-square-foot facility in 2011. During FY 2017, we distributed 22 million meals to our nonprofit partners that have touched the lives of people in the community. We are grateful to the individuals, organizations and companies that support our vision of eradicating hunger in our community by donating time, money and food.

2015 Form 990
2017 Audit
 

1981

A need for a food bank in Omaha
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1981

The first year of operation
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1985

The Food Bank’s client base grows rapidly
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1986

Chuck Raffensperger is named the executive director
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1993

Don Schinzel is named the third executive director
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1998

ConAgra Foods Foundation
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1999

Upgrades to a larger building
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2001

The first Kids Cafe site opens
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2006

The BackPack program launches
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2009

The Food Bank welcomes Susan E. Ogborn as president and CEO
Read more

2009

New name and logo
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2011

Food Bank for the Heartland relocates
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2011

Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen program
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2014

Ruth Scott Volunteer Center
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2015

15.8 million pounds of food
Read more

Who are we

Leadership
Staff directory
Board of Directors
President’s message

Brian Barks

 Brian Barks
  President & CEO
  BBarks@FoodBankHeartland.org

 


 Alexandra Goswami
  Director of Finance & Accounting
  AGoswami@FoodBankHeartland.org

 


Dave Love

 Dave Love
  Director of Distribution Center
  DLove@FoodBankHeartland.org

LB

 La Ronda Birch
  Director of Human Resources
  LBirch@FoodBankHeartland.org

Ericka Smrcka

 Ericka Smrcka
  Director of Network & Client Services
  ESmrcka@FoodBankHeartland.org

 



Anna Adams
SNAP Intake Specialist
AAdams@FoodBankHeartland.org
Mayra Anaya
SNAP Outreach Specialist
MAnaya@FoodBankHeartland.org
Emily Barber
Capacity-Building Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
EBarber@FoodBankHeartland.org
Melissa Barfield
Network Relations Specialist
MBarfield@FoodBankHeartland.org
Stephani Bayle
Brand Manager
SBayle@FoodBankHeartland.org
Kim Boham 
Iowa Food Assistant Intake Specialist
KBoham@FoodBankHeartland.org
Megan Burton
Network Compliance Coordinator
MBurton@FoodBankHeartland.org
Spencer Cohorst
Volunteer Coordinator
SCohorst@FoodBankHeartland.org
Sarah Comer
Assistant Director of Network Education and Compliance
SComer@FoodBankHeartland.org
Jenny Devries
Iowa Food Assistant Intake Specialist
JDevries@FoodBankHeartland.org
Lea Franck
Manager of Network Expansion
LFranck@FoodBankHeartland.org

Angela Grote
Communications Manager
AGrote@FoodBankHeartland.org
Mike Gudenrath
Food Sourcing Manager
MGudenrath@FoodBankHeartland.org
Michelle Guebara
SNAP Intake Specialist
MGuebara@FoodBankHeartland.org
Kerry Heaton 
Iowa Food Assistance Manager
KHeaton@FoodBankHeartland.org
Shelley Mann
Assistant Director of SNAP
SMann@FoodBankHeartland.org
Melaney McCroy
SNAP Direct Service Team Lead
MMcCroy@FoodBankHeartland.org
Jason Moucka
Manager of Network Relations
JMoucka@FoodBankHeartland.org
Joani Mullin
Community Engagement Officer
JMullin@FoodBankHeartland.org
Sallie Myers
Food Sourcing Specialist
SMyers@FoodBankHeartland.org
Natalie Nelson
SNAP Direct Service Manager
NNelson@FoodBankHeartland.org
Allison Oberg
Network Compliance Coordinator
AOberg@FoodBankHeartland.org

Elida Padolina
Network Relations Specialist
EGuzman@FoodBankHeartland.org
Jennifer Pittman
Hunger Relief Capacity Building Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
JPittman@FoodBankHeartland.org
Vallary Ross
Capacity-Building Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
VRoss@FoodBankHeartland.org
Ann Rourke
Philanthropy Officer
ARourke@FoodBankHeartland.org
Michelle Sause
Assistant Director of Network Relations
MSause@FoodBankHeartland.org
Margaret Schill
Food Sourcing Specialist
MSchill@FoodBankHeartland.org
Leslie Schmeling
Hunger Relief Capacity Building Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
LSchmeling@FoodBankHeartland.org
Tim Smiley
Warehouse & Transportation Manager
TSmiley@FoodBankHeartland.org
Asefa Zebene
SNAP Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
AZebene@FoodBankHeartland.org
Annissa Zynda
Capacity-Building Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
AZynda@FoodBankHeartland.org

Mary Balluff, Chairman 
Community Volunteer
Denise McCauley, Chair-elect
WoodmenLife
Craig Kinnison, Secretary
Farm Credit Services of America
Nate Christ, Treasurer
Access Bank
Brian Barks, President
Food Bank for the Heartland
Eric Arneson
Lindsay Corporation
Jeff Austin
Community Volunteer
Tom Burke
Del  EMC
Roger Deal
Sequoia Wealth Partners, Inc.

Matthew DeBoer
HDR Architecture
Zac Fredrickson
Holland Basham Architects
Rick Hansen
Conagra Brands
Steve Hutchinson
Hastings College
Tom McLaughlin
One World Health Center
Elizabeth Murphy
Emspace + Lovgren
Susan Nelson
Angels Among Us
Tara Stingley
Cline Williams Law Firm

Melissa Taylor
Mutual of Omaha
Pamela Tuma
Gavillon
David Ulferts
UNL Extension
Susan Violi
Omaha World-Herald
Steve Wallace
PayPal
Chad Werner
First Data Corporation
Jim Winterscheid
Travel & Transport
Stephen Gehring, Legal Counsel
Cline Williams

Take a minute to turn back the clock. Think about what you were doing 10 years ago. If you’re like me, life zigged and zagged. 10 years ago I read news on-the-air for a radio station in Omaha. I was in my 22nd year of doing radio news. Thanksgiving week of 2008, my boss told me my services weren’t needed. Boom! Like that I was out of a job for the first time in my life. To make matters worse, this was during the Great Recession. Five long, difficult months later I became the fundraising and PR director at Food Bank for the Heartland, formerly known as the Omaha Food Bank. Fast forward to today. I’m now the new President & CEO of the Food Bank. That is crazy!

 

When I began at the Food Bank, the office and warehouse could best be described as spartan. The organization raised about $2.4 million in donations and distributed enough food for about five million meals. Today the Food Bank is collecting about $6 million in donations and distributing enough food for about 25.5 million meals. Credit for the transformation goes to my predecessor, Susan Ogborn, an inspirational leader, who retired in June. I was fortunate to have a front row seat as the Food Bank grew into a nationally recognized leader in our industry. The Food Bank’s board of directors is trusting me with the keys to drive the organization in the next chapter. I am excited!

 

There is plenty of work to be done. Knowing this Food Bank team, there is no easing up on the gas pedal. Our long-term strategic plan calls for the Food Bank to reach 39 million distributed meals and $10 million in donated revenue by 2025. We will get there! I have no doubt especially with the help of supporters from Scottsbluff to Omaha, Valentine to McCook.

 

At a recently completed a leadership training, 20 participants and I were told little says more about a person than a personal mission statement. Mine is “Big faith, family first, others-centered and integrity always win the day!” That’s who I am and what I’m about.

 

That’s a snapshot of me. My wife of 26 years supports me in every way possible. Our two daughters are grown young women making their own impacts on the lives of others. I am a richly blessed man! From Ottumwa to Omaha, radio to food banking. That is a plan only God could breathe!

 

Brian Barks
President & CEO

 

FAQs

How does food banking work?

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  1. Donations

    Individuals, businesses, foundations, USDA, and organizations donate food, funds and volunteer time

  2. Central collection

    The Food Bank collects and distributes food to network partners and direct distribution programs

  3. Distribution

    Food pantries, shelters, schools, soup kitchens, mobile pantries and child nutrition programs organize distribution

  4. Support

    Food is provided to people who are struggling with hunger in Nebraska and western Iowa

What is a food bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger-relief charities. Food Bank for the Heartland works with individuals, organizations, food manufacturers and distributors, grocery stores, the USDA and Feeding America to procure food. We also purchase food to supplement donations. The food is warehoused in our distribution center, and with help from volunteers, it is sorted, packed and re-distributed across Nebraska and western Iowa.

How does food at the Food Bank reach people in need?

The Food Bank distributes food to 535 non-profit organizations in Nebraska and western Iowa such as pantries, schools, emergency shelters and meal providers. These organizations then distribute food to individuals and families in need in their communities.

What food items are needed most at the Food Bank?

Items in the highest demand include those the Food Bank often buys. The list includes macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, rice, pancake mix, canned chicken, boxed potatoes, canned fruit and canned green beans.

Where does Food Bank for the Heartland receive its food?

In FY 2017, 46 percent of the food received by the Food Bank came from corporate donors such as manufacturers, grocers and retail stores; 32 percent was purchased by the Food Bank; 20 percent came from USDA commodities; 2 percent from food drives

Where does Food Bank for the Heartland receive its funding?

The Food Bank has an operating budget of $9.4 million and employs 50 people. On average, about 37 percent of the Food Bank’s revenue comes from individual donors; 35 percent is provided by corporate donors; 25 percent comes via foundations. The remaining 3 percent consists of gifts from civic groups, churches and schools.

Does Food Bank for the Heartland sell food?

No. The IRS prohibits food banks from selling food. The IRS does allow food banks to request partner organizations to contribute a shared maintenance fee to defray the cost of soliciting, collecting, storing and distributing food. The shared maintenance fee differs per item ranging from 0-16 cents per pound. There is no shared maintenance on produce, bakery, government commodities and soda. About 50 percent of the food distributed by the Food Bank has no shared maintenance fee. Partner organizations are not allowed to sell food they receive from Food Bank for the Heartland and must distribute to individuals. If a partner organization cannot pay the recommended shared maintenance fee, the Food Bank will work with that organization to address the costs in another way.