About Us



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


To eliminate hunger in our community.


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 600 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 2018, 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.

2020 Annual Report
2019 Annual Report
2020 Audit
2019 Audit
2020 Form 990
2019 Form 990


A need for a food bank in Omaha
Read more


The first year of operation
Read more


The Food Bank’s client base grows rapidly
Read more


Chuck Raffensperger is named the executive director
Read more


Don Schinzel is named the third executive director
Read more


ConAgra Foods Foundation
Read more


Upgrades to a larger building
Read more


The first Kids Cafe site opens
Read more


The BackPack program launches
Read more


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


New name and logo
Read more


Food Bank for the Heartland relocates
Read more


Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen program
Read more


Ruth Scott Volunteer Center
Read more


15.8 million pounds of food
Read more


The Food Bank welcomes Brian Barks as president and CEO.
Read more

Who we are

Staff directory
Board of Directors
President’s message

Brian Barks

 Brian Barks
  President & CEO

Ericka Smrcka

 Ericka Smrcka
  Vice President of Operations

Dave Love

 Dave Love
  Senior Director of Operations

 Kelly Ptacek
  Vice President of External Affairs

Yesenia Acevedo
SNAP Direct Service Specialist
Melissa Barfield
Community & Partner Support Representative
Kim Boham 
Iowa Food Assistant Intake Specialist
Kezia Boyd
Iowa Food Assistance Specialist
Megan Burton
Community & Partner Support Manager
Travis Carlson
Director of Marketing and Communications
Spencer Cohorst
Community & Partner Support Representative
Sarah Comer
Assistant Director of Network Compliance & Distribution Analysis
Jenny DeVries
Community & Partner Support Representative
Lea Franck
Community & Partner Support Manager
Crystal Frazier 
Clean Room Coordinator

Mike Gudenrath
Food Sourcing Manager
Katie Harper
Hunger Relief Capacity Building Coordinator
Americorps VISTA
Kerry Heaton 
Iowa Food Assistance Manager
Danielle Helm
Food Sourcing Coordinator
Edward Helm
Transportation & Facilities Coordinator
Betty Jauregui-Vargas
Iowa Food Assistance Intake Specialist
Joanne Kamppinen
Philanthropy Officer
Jake Kampschneider
Community & Partner Support Representative
Nicholas Long
Development Operations & Prospect Manager
Shelley Mann
Assistant Director of SNAP
Allison Minard
Perishable Coordinator

Jason Moucka
Distribution Center Manager
Joani Mullin
Community Engagement Officer
Sallie Myers
Food Sourcing & Volunteer Center Manager
Natalie Nelson
SNAP Direct Service Manager
Allison Oberg
Child Hunger Programs Coordinator
Michelle Sause
Director of Network Relations
Tim Smiley
Warehouse & Transportation Manager
Kaitlyn Smith
Hunger Relief Capacity Building Coordinator
Americorps VISTA
Jerlyn Swiatlowski 
Annual Giving Officer

Denise McCauley, Chair
Chad Werner, Chair-elect
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
Craig Kinnison, Secretary
Farm Credit Services of America
Nate Christ, Treasurer
Total Respiratory
Brian Barks, President
Food Bank for the Heartland
Daniel Applegarth
Eric R. Arneson
Jeff Austin
Huffman Engineering, Inc.

Tom Burke
Dell Technologies
Angi Chamberlain
Roger Deal
Sequoia Wealth Partners, LLC
Matthew DeBoer
Greg Fripp
Whispering Roots
Rick Hansen
Conagra Brands
Tiffani Keckler
Five Points Bank

Tom McLaughlin
OneWorld Community Health Centers
Duncan Murphy
Riekes Equipment
Elizebeth Murphy
Emspace + Lovgren
Melissa Taylor
M&E Consulting
Susan Violi
Steve Wallace
Stephen E. Gehring, Legal Counsel
Cline Williams

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us. But thousands of our food-insecure neighbors do not have regular access to meals. Children, families, seniors, and veterans are finding themselves in the unexpected position of needing emergency food assistance for the first time.


The need for meals is more critical than ever.



Last year, we worked relentlessly to help Nebraskans and Iowans devastated by the historic flooding across the Heartland. We distributed more food than ever before — until now. In April 2019, we purchased 400,000 pounds of food. In April 2020, we purchased 1 million pounds of food — more than double during last year’s flood relief efforts.


From March 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020, the Food Bank distributed an astounding 3,974,012 meals. And, we will continue working with our partners to provide urgent meals in the months to come.


During this unprecedented time, I am grateful to the community for its extraordinary support. Thank you to our donors, volunteers, pantry partners, and Food Bank staff. You are making a difference for our neighbors who are struggling. It is our business to help, but we couldn’t do it without you.

With gratitude,
Brian Barks
President & CEO



How does food banking work?


  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 600 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 2019, 45 percent of the food received by the Food Bank came from corporate donors such as manufacturers, grocers and retail stores; 28 percent was purchased by the Food Bank; 25 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 $8.2 million and employs 55 people. On average, about 35 percent of the Food Bank’s revenue comes from individual donors; 25 percent is provided by corporate donors; 28 percent comes via foundations. The remaining 12 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.