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.

2018 Form 990
2018 Audit


A need for a food bank in Omaha
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The first year of operation
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The Food Bank’s client base grows rapidly
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Chuck Raffensperger is named the executive director
Read more


Don Schinzel is named the third executive director
Read more


ConAgra Foods Foundation
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Upgrades to a larger building
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The first Kids Cafe site opens
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The BackPack program launches
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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
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Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen program
Read more


Ruth Scott Volunteer Center
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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


Dave Love

 Dave Love
  Director of Distribution Center



 La Ronda Birch
  Director of Human Resources

 Kelly Ptacek
  Vice President of External Affairs

 Alexandra Goswami
  Director of Finance & Accounting

Ericka Smrcka

 Ericka Smrcka
  Director of Network & Client Services

Yesenia Acevedo
SNAP Direct Service Specialist
Melissa Barfield
Network Relations Specialist
Stephani Bayle
Brand Manager
Kim Boham 
Iowa Food Assistant Intake Specialist
Megan Burton
Network Compliance & Child Hunger Programs Manager
Spencer Cohorst
Volunteer Coordinator
Sarah Comer
Assistant Director of Network Compliance & Distribution Analysis
Jenny DeVries
Mobile Pantry Coordinator
Lea Franck
Manager of Network Expansion
Crystal Frazier 
SNAP Direct Service Specialist

Angela Grote
Communications Manager
Mike Gudenrath
Food Sourcing Manager
Kerry Heaton 
Iowa Food Assistance Manager
Regan Heaton 
Network Compliance Coordinator
Betty Jauregui-Vargas
Iowa Food Assistance Intake Specialist
Jake Kampschneider
SNAP Partnership & Rural Outreach Coordinator
Sarah Kluth
Nicholas Long
Donor Database Manager
Liz Luque-Fernandez
SNAP Direct Service Specialist
Shelley Mann
Assistant Director of SNAP

Allison Minard
Network Relations Specialist
Jason Moucka
Manager of Network Relations
Joani Mullin
Community Engagement Officer
Sallie Myers
Food Sourcing Coordinator
Natalie Nelson
SNAP Direct Service Manager
Allison Oberg
Child Hunger Programs Coordinator
Chris Redding-Wagner
Hunger Relief Capacity Building Coordinator
Americorps VISTA
Michelle Sause
Assistant Director of Network Relations
Tim Smiley
Warehouse & Transportation Manager

Mary Balluff, Chairman 
Community Volunteer
Denise McCauley, Chair-elect
Craig Kinnison, Secretary
Farm Credit Services of America
Nate Christ, Treasurer
Community Volunteer
Brian Barks, President
Food Bank for the Heartland
Eric Arneson
Lindsay Corporation
Jeff Austin
Community Volunteer
Tom Burke
Dell  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
Elizebeth Murphy
Emspace + Lovgren
Susan Nelson
Angels Among Us

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

On July 1, 2019, Food Bank for the Heartland began a new ­fiscal year, and I celebrated one year as the organization’s new leader. It has been an incredible 12 months!


I’m so proud of everything that the Food Bank accomplished. I’m especially inspired by how we responded to the government shutdown and historic disasters.


We assisted furloughed federal workers who were running out of food after missing two pay periods when the government shut down for 35 days. I’ll never forget meeting a TSA staffer grateful for the food she received to help feed her family. The Food Bank purchased $200,000 worth of food for distribution to our pantry partners who were seeing an increase of clients needing help.


Then came the flood and blizzard in March. The Food Bank sourced thousands of pounds of food, water and cleaning supplies from around the country. We provided assistance in impacted communities including Bellevue, Fremont, Valley, Columbus, Niobrara, Lynch and Winslow in Nebraska along with Council Bluffs, Hamburg and Paci­fic Junction in Iowa and many others.


Looking ahead to the next 12 months, our plan is to add more mobile pantries across our 93-county Nebraska and western Iowa service area. We are targeting communities where the need for assistance is high but access to help is low. Overall, we plan to increase the amount of food provided by approximately 1.6 million meals compared to the previous 12 months.


We know the 1.6 million meals are connected to people. People like a husband and wife we met in Valley, residents for over 40 years who lost everything in the flood and forced to start over. Or a couple in Plattsmouth who had to find a new place to live when their apartment flooded.


The Food Bank staff is passionate about helping struggling families. We love making a difference and hope you will join us! The feeling is awesome!


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 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.