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St. Matthew's offers fresh produce pantry

St. Matthew's offers fresh produce pantry

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St. Matthew's hosts a fresh produce pantry every Wednesday evening.

Bellevue locals experiencing food insecurity can find fresh food items through a new local resource.

A drive-thru produce pantry is offered on Wednesday evenings at Bellevue’s St. Matthew Catholic Church, 12330 S. 36th St.

The program is offered through a partnership between St. Matthew’s Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The church groups work with Whispering Roots, an Omaha-area nonprofit dedicated to providing healthy food and nutrition education to economically under-served communities.

Volunteer Barbara Bolter stumbled upon the idea when she approached the Bellevue Housing Department on behalf of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, seeking resources for someone struggling financially with paying their rent. The conversation progressed, allowing Bolter to learn about Whispering Roots and access to boxed produce for people in need.

“It’s really for people that find themselves food insecure,” said Bolter, who coordinated the partnership. “It’s kind of a grassroots effort through St. Matthew’s, seeing a need, in particular, in our area.”

Bolter said there have been days where they blew through the boxes and others where they had to redistribute to boxes to another parish in Omaha.

“We’re just trying to get the word out,” Bolter said. “We’re out there rain or shine on Wednesdays.”

The program will continue through, at least, March 31.

“Our goal is to grow this, and we’re kind of at Whispering Roots and the USDA’s mercy on how long they’ll offer this,” Bolter said. “As long as they run this program, we hope to be a part of it.”

Drive-thru pickup is offered on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the south parking lot.

Boxes contain a variety items such as carrots, onions, potatoes and apples. Aside from produce, a gallon of milk is also provided.

Sometimes a second box with protein options and additional produce is also available.

A mask is required; no sign-up or ID verification is required.

“This fulfills a need in our community,” Bolter said. “You can get a lot of canned produce at food pantries, but fresh produce is tough to come by. That’s a need we’re able to fill.”

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