Omaha-area McDonald’s owner-operators on Tuesday donated 10,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

The owner-operators partnered with the company’s distribution partner, EARP Distribution, to make the donation.

Workers unloaded seven pallets of food from a large McDonald’s-branded truck at the food bank’s building at 105th and J Streets. The donation included 6,000 beef patties, more than 15,000 tubes of Go-Gurt, 126 cartons of liquid egg whites and 240 cases of nonfat milk.

“We felt it was the right thing to do,” said Dustin Darmody, an owner-operator.

Food Bank for the Heartland distributes food to more than 600 pantries, shelters and partners across Nebraska and western Iowa. The McDonald’s owner-operators said they wanted to donate to an organization that would have an impact across Nebraska and into Iowa.

The donation comes at a time when the food bank’s need has increased, as have purchasing costs. Thousands of Nebraskans and Iowans have lost jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, making it tough to afford food.

“This is a really important donation for us,” said Kelly Ptacek, vice president of external affairs at Food Bank for the Heartland. “It’s really important when people are really hurting.”

The donation of protein was particularly important, Ptacek said. It’s always a high-demand product.