Story shared by Adrielle Griffin, Completely KIDS Chief Marketing and Development Officer
When the COVID-19 pandemic washed over the Omaha metro area in mid-March, much was unknown. Many, including those at Completely KIDS, thought they might be shut down for a week or so and then life would return to some sense of normalcy. The Completely KIDS staff realized quickly that would not be the case and jumped into action.
Completely KIDS staff began distributing 200 bags of food every Friday in partnership with Food Bank for the Heartland as a drive-up mobile pantry. But as the line of cars backed up on St. Mary’s Ave., it became evident the need was even greater.
The Hope Center for Kids founders Pastor Ty and Terri Schenzel saw the need for hope in the lives of children who could not see beyond their circumstances. Today, their vision is carried on by dedicated staff and volunteers who provide a safe after-school and summer program where youth can take part in faith-building, academic support, youth development, employment training and receive a hot meal.
Lou, a longtime volunteer, and her husband have supported the work of The Hope Center for 20 years.
Currently, Lou is a part of a team of volunteers that work in The Hope Center’s garden. Approximately 20 raised beds are used to grow vegetables and flowers and each spring the team cleans the beds and preps them for planting. Lou enjoys helping kids plant seeds, maintain the beds and watch new life grow.
AFSP is working to prevent the second leading cause of death for Nebraskans age 15-34 and ninth leading cause of death for all age groups. Their work saves lives and brings hope to those affected by suicide through suicide prevention trainings, community outreach and mental health advocacy.
Volunteers like Mark and Jenn make every hour count because of a desire to let others know that they are not alone.
Every year, a group of Northwest Arkansas churches partner together for a mission trip and volunteer for a week. Early this summer they asked Google, ‘Where should we go? Who needs our help?’
They discovered this posting on SHARE Omaha. They were drawn to Omaha Rapid Response’s need for flood relief volunteers. Their 50 student and 20 adult volunteers could make a big difference in King Lake.
The Humble Lily is an Omaha gem that is becoming not-so-secret. The Humble Lily is an immaculate boutique at 10730 Pacific Street, Suite 114 in Shaker Place that sells lightly used women’s clothing. The proceeds from The Humble Lily support Bethlehem house, a 12-bedroom maternity home for pregnant women in crisis.
Last year Humble Lily funds accounted for 30% of operating income for Bethlehem House. Volunteers are a key part of keeping overhead low. One of these valued volunteers is Kaye.
Kaye is a retired nurse who couldn’t retire from helping others. She first came to Humble Lily as a shopper and was drawn to the mission.
“I’m an organized person and I wanted to help with the back room,” said Kaye.
Overheard during a ride-along with the Truck Brigade, as a team of volunteers delivered a couch, bed frame and mattress to a recipient of donation items:
“You got enough truck straps for that couch?”
“The apartment’s up there? It’s has to be. Our deliveries are never on the first floor.”
“There’s another door, right? I don’t think it’s coming in this way...”
“Vvvv-room,” said a little boy in Spiderman pajamas as he drove his toy car under the couch being carried back out door number one.
“Look out, the kitty is trying to escape!”
It’s all about perspective. If you see a carrot with three or four legs at the supermarket, you might “turnip” your nose at it. At a farmer’s market? That organic carrot has personality and it’s worth at least double!
On a Tuesday evening at the Food Bank for the Heartland, volunteers inspected and sorted pot roast veggies, including carrots with a few extra legs, for distribution to the 93 counties and over 500 agencies the Food Bank serves in Nebraska and Western Iowa.
In just two hours, volunteers cleared 1725 pounds of Pot Roast Veggies to feed our hungry neighbors.
“This is my fourth time and I want to keep coming,” said volunteer Jenny. “It’s fun, you meet new people, it’s easy work and I feel good knowing my work is providing food for people in need.”
Peace, healing, joy. Each guest comes to Scatter Joy Acres looking for something different. When they find it, they’re hooked.
“You come one time and that’s all it takes. You’ll be back,” says Kim, a regular Scatter Joy Acres volunteer.
Scatter Joy Acres is a 26-acre urban rescue and therapy ranch, located at 49th and Newport in Omaha. Founder Joy Bartling and a team of volunteers take in neglected animals and give them a renewed purpose providing therapeutic interactions for at-risk children, seniors and veterans.
Volunteers Kim and Tina speak proudly of the challenges their favorite animals have overcome.
We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!