New Initiatives Address Food Insecurity in Omaha
During these unprecedented times, Saving Grace has remained flexible to adjusting operations to provide food to those in need. “We are trying to stay open to this ever-changing environment and how we can be effective,” said Beth Ostdiek Smith, CEO and founder.

In March and early April, Saving Grace rescued over 42,000 pounds of food as restaurants, event venues, casinos, bars and other food vendors closed and emptied their kitchens because of COVID-19. Subsequently, normal donations of surplus food decreased by about half as some businesses were closed and others experienced disruptions in the food supply chain.

As community groups worked together to address increased food insecurity because of the pandemic, Saving Grace offered its unique distribution and logistics operation for food delivery needs. In addition to providing our normal food rescue services, Saving Grace is:

  • Assisting Catholic Charities by distributing USDA Farmers to Families Food Boxes of produce and dairy each week to families in need beyond those served by that agency’s pantries.
  • Working with the Food Bank of the Heartland and Millard Public Schools to distribute a weekly semi-truck load of Farmers to Families Food Boxes. Saving Grace picks up the food three days a week at Millard South High School and delivers it to nine schools that serve as distribution locations, providing fresh produce to local families in need.
  • Partnering with the COVID-19 Garden/Farming Response group and several community gardens that are increasing their current spaces and creating new garden areas to provide produce to address food insecurity. Saving Grace provides the logistics/distribution services to connect this fresh produce with local nonprofit partners. Plans are to also work with Seimbra Nebraska.

You can help Saving Grace address food insecurity during the pandemic by making a donation online.
UnitedHealthcare Grant Focuses on Capacity Building
Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue is one of four community-based organizations in Nebraska to receive a portion of the $1 million UnitedHealthcare is awarding in Empowering Health grants to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.

The $300,000 Saving Grace received from the grant will be used to purchase a refrigerated truck to replace an older truck, to add a new refrigerated van to Saving Grace’s fleet of four trucks, to hire a field manager and to support other capacity-building initiatives. An additional driver/food ambassador will be added when the new van goes into service.

Other organizations receiving grants are Together, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska and the Visiting Nurse Association.
Food for Thought Recap
Saving Grace, Project Hope Work Together to Feed the Hungry
While the pandemic may have altered the way Project Hope distributes pantry items to those in need, it hasn’t changed the agency’s focus on providing healthy perishable foods provided by Saving Grace. Two days a week, Saving Grace’s drivers deliver fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, dairy products, eggs, meats and other perishable foods to Project Hope.

Veda Keebler, executive director, estimates one-third of the food Project Hope receives for its pantry, where clients now drive up and select items from a list, comes from Saving Grace. “Our clients would not get near the amount of food they do if we didn’t have Saving Grace,” she said.

Keebler and Beth Ostdiek Smith, Saving Grace’s CEO, president and founder, talked about how the two agencies work together to feed the hungry during a recent Food for Thought event held via Zoom. Smith said Saving Grace has provided Project Hope with over 75,000 pounds of perishable food since April 2017.

Easy Ways to Get Involved with Saving Grace

Virtual Food for Thought

Join us on July 30 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom to hear how Blossom and Wood is creating a food forest in Benson. Learn fun ways to use produce and other items that might be in your refrigerator.  Register now.

Kroger Community Rewards

Link your Kroger Co. rewards card to Saving Grace and raise funds for our organization. Baker's stores in the Omaha area are part of the Kroger family. The more your shop, the more money Saving Grace receives! Find out more.

Hy-Vee My Heart Bag

During the month of July, purchase a $2.50 red "My Heart" Reusable Bag from the Hy-Vee located at 9707 Q Street and $1 will be donated to Saving Grace.

AmazonSmile App

You can now support Saving Grace through the AmazonSmile mobile app. If you are not already an AmazonSmile member, sign up on your web browser and select Saving Grace as your favorite charity. Download or update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone, available in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android. Then, open the app and find “Settings” in the main menu (☰). Tap on “AmazonSmile” and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.
"The main reason I love Saving Grace is because we are able to keep healthy food out of landfills and provide it to people who need it most. Having the right food is critical to rehabilitation."

- Erik Bird, Saving Grace board member
Feeding Hungry Bellies, Not Landfills!