As unemployment rises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cubby’s continues to serve the downtown Omaha area as a place for fresh groceries and even provide much-needed jobs for locals. Austin Uhlig, a Digital Development and Design major at Hastings College, grew up in Omaha and has returned home from school like many other students impacted by the closing of campuses and dormitories. “We were only going to do online classes for a couple of weeks,” said Uhlig, but would soon receive the news that on-campus classes were suspended until the end of the semester.

Luckily, Uhlig had already worked with Cubby’s the previous summer as a marketing intern and assisted creating a new social media campaign by taking new photos and improving the websites of each Omaha metro location. When he returned home and heard about De Lone Wilson’s plan to provide 1,000 meals per day at cost to the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, he knew he wanted to get involved. “When De Lone was starting that initiative,” Uhlig said, “I wanted to reach out to Cubby’s again to see if they had anything available and thank goodness, I was able to help out with this amazing opportunity.”

What had begun as a marketing internship has now blossomed into a way to help those in need. Uhlig said, “it’s honestly been an incredible opportunity to help people in my area.” Growing up with a mother in social work, Uhlig has seen the direct impact of the work the team at Cubby’s has been able to accomplish. “These kids that we’re making meals for are the same kids that my mom works with every day, so it’s cool to see that overlap and get to personally help out, specifically in my community,” said Uhlig.

First-thing every morning, the first crew of workers starts with assembling, “as many sandwiches as they can,” said Uhlig, which is the most time-consuming part about making the meals. Meanwhile, the ovens in-store, “are pretty much running 24-7,” he said, to make as many cookies as they can to add into each sack lunch. Other than those two processes, each person on the crew has one job on the assembly line, working in conjunction to fulfill their 1,000-per-day goal while still maintaining their regular grocery hours.

While their task of preparing and distributing 1,000 meals per day is enormous, Uhlig insists that the process has been all about teamwork and coming together for a meaningful cause. “We set a high bar for ourselves making 1,000 meals a day,” he said, “but it’s been wonderful getting to know my peers and team members better. We’re all working towards that common goal to better our community. The challenge, while it can definitely be stressful at times, is certainly worth it.”

To find out how to help local families, visit