What is Foodnet?
Foodnet is a group of volunteers from many different churches and other non-profit organizations trying to stop the waste of food and provide for those in need. We collect food from donors for distribution at our sites around the Lincoln area each day. We provide mostly perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread, etc. These are items not usually found at a dry goods food pantry, but are still in demand.
How did it get started?
Distribution of food through Foodnet is made possible by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act: an act of Congress that encourages the donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to needy individuals, backed by the full force and effect of the law.
Locally, former State Treasurer Frank Marsh started Foodnet out of his garage near Southeast High School. From this humble beginning Foodnet Lincoln now has at least two sites for each day of the week in the greater Lincoln area!
How much does it cost to operate Foodnet?
Stores donate the food (and receive a tax write off, 30% of retail). Sites are operated by local churches and non-profit organizations on a strictly volunteer basis. The net effect is that Foodnet Lincoln distributes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of food (probably more like $2-3 million) for free to anyone who has a need. Everyone is welcome. The administrative costs are very low, around $5,000 a year. What a tremendous value to the community!
How do I volunteer?
Zion’s site runs every Saturday from 8:15 am to 10:15 am. If you want to volunteer, just come to the back parking lot and seasoned volunteers can show you what to do.
What happens each week at Foodnet? (What would I do?)
If you want to help at the site, here are the things you’ll be doing:
- Setting up tables
- Unloading boxes of food from the stores
- Dividing and arranging the food on the tables
- Putting together boxes of food that have a little of everything (that week’s leader will give further instructions)
- Carrying/carting the boxes to the line of cars/clients
- Returning boxes that clients brought with them so they can be reused (we sometimes run low of boxes!)
- Give away Pepsi products at the end of the car line
At the end of each week the volunteers get some food for themselves. Tables are put away, and we sweep and put the rest of the gear away.
Then you enjoy the rest of your Saturday knowing that you helped someone feed their family, helped keep tons of food out of the landfill, and shared the love of Christ in a very practical way (Matthew 25:31-40).