Omaha Meals Lovers and native companies help the native pantry

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Members of the Facebook group Omaha Food Lovers are paying it on amid the pandemic.

Stacy Winters loves food. So much so that he and others formed the Omaha Food Lovers group. Members share reviews and recommendations for restaurants and bars in the area and are a huge influence on businesses struggling during the pandemic.

When we first reported on the group a few months ago, it had 16,000 followers. The group now has almost 48,000 participants.

“We’ve tripled in the last 10 months, which is incredible growth,” said Winters.

It’s a place to create free promotions of great food and companies that could do more business during the pandemic.

“It’s like asking for help when you see restaurants knowingly having problems,” said Winters. “People will post this to the group and say,” Hey, I was just there and I was there for 30 minutes and I was the only person there. ‘You see people who will gather around it and support them. “

Friendships were made for many in the group. Pounds may have been gained, but for others it has made a difference to their business. Cunningham’s Pub and Grill is a business that has benefited from the group.

During the vacation, Winters wanted to do something to help businesses and others move forward. So he joined a virtual fundraiser for the Foodbank of the Heartland.

“What better food group charity than a food bank,” Winters said.

The goal was for the foodies to collect or donate $ 25,000 to the organization. Members worked with local businesses, many of which also had problems

“It was a great advertisement for these people too,” said Winters. “Every day I mentioned these places in our posts within the group so that they would get some appreciation for what they were doing. That’s why they didn’t, but.” It was a win-win situation. “

In the end, 135 restaurants were involved and donated a total of 380 prizes to donors. One thousand three hundred and fifty members of Omaha Food Lovers also donated. The total of donors totaled US $ 67,000 in just three weeks, and even more thanks to Conagra’s Shed the Light on Hunger campaign, which matched the money raised, dollar for dollar.

“Our $ 67,000 had an impact of $ 134,000,” Winters said. “It was just a simple idea and it just snowed. People loved seeing the daily updates and the dollar increase. It was really heartwarming.”

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