All What’s in a Box

No More Empty Pots; Learn more: www.nmepomaha.org

Being raised on meat and potatoes is a common sentiment expressed by many Nebraskans. It was said verbatim to our team by Sandy, 30, breast cancer survivor, when she called No More Empty Pots to leave a review of our food distribution program, Feeding Our Neighbors.

Sandy had opened her box that week, upon its delivery to her apartment doorstep, to find meals of cooked rice, pico de gallo, beans and an assortment of veggies neatly packaged and labeled in microwavable bowls for herself and her two sons. As usual, the meal ingredients, all plant-based, were purchased in-season straight from local producers and trucked to the Food Hub’s commercial kitchen earlier that week. The meals themselves were cooked in-house by the skillful hands of NMEP staff and helpful volunteers from the community, who braved the frigid temperatures to serve their neighbors.

Week after week, each step of meal preparation is taken with participants like Sandy in mind, which made her phone call all the more meaningful; Sandy had called simply to say thank you. She said her box teaches her something new every week about nutrition and how to prepare plant-based meals, despite growing up with limited exposure to foods beyond Midwestern staples like meat and potatoes. She was giddy about the possibilities of applying these new lessons in her own cooking once she was healthy and able again following her cancer treatments. In the meantime, she wanted us to know the impact the meals were making both on her health and outlook of the future, and we were humbled to hear it.

After sealing box after box of food in response to COVID-19, phone calls and conversations like this one with Sandy have taught us that caring for our participants is just as important as the food we deliver each week.