23 December 2008

Papillion Sanitation

A great big thank you to Papillion Sanitation for collecting 150 turkeys and 100 hams that Open Door Mission will use over the next few weeks to serve to over 1,900 hungry and homleess men. women, and children on a daily basis this holiday season.

94.1 Diaper Drive

I great big thank you to 94.1 and all their listeners that came out supporting Open Door Mission's Lydia House and the annual Diaper Drive. With your help 94.1 rasie over 440,000 diapers and over $8,100 that will go towards the purchase of even more diapers. Here are some pictures below of our wonderful volunteers unloading the diapers.

19 December 2008

Omaha Food Bank Blesses the Open Door Mission

The Omaha Food Bank delievers 1,600 turkeys to the Open Door Mission on Friday just before Open Door Mission serves over 4,200 children with Christmas. This means that every family that comees to the mission to get toys for thier chidlrne will be able to receive a turkey to have on Christmas morning.

15 December 2008

God is in the Details!

It's not too late to drop off your toys for Operation Santa! Gary Saddlemeyer from KFAB and I had a busy day on Saturday doing a toy remote at the Omaha Credit Union, and we still need fleece blankets, hot wheels, baby dolls, sports balls and board games.

Before that, and in the midst of all the busy-ness, I was on a personal mission last Thursday. I needed to find two pairs of insulated coveralls for two of our program men who are helping in our receiving area as part-time seasonal staff. Todd and Will have been closing each night, putting in long hours with volunteers and running the forklifts in the bitter cold weather.

I had several errands today, so I looked for Carharts where ever I went, and also asked staff to call different places. We called or visited Pamida, Bass Pro, Canfields, Tractor Supply, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Cabela's, just to name a few. I was heartbroken that at the end of the business day around 5 PM, I still had not located the right size for Todd. Will's had been easy to find. Finally, I found something to fit at Canfield's, and James started out to pick them up.

Shortly after James left the building, Dan Applegate from the Timberlake Outreach Center called me to say he was coming up to my office to show me something. Dan and Todd just walked through the door. Todd was wearing insulated Carhart Bibs and carrying a matching hood. A donor had just dropped the set off in our receiving area.

I was shocked, and at a loss for words. You can ask Dan...I was speechless.

I cannot tell you adequately what a direct personal message from God this was to me. It happened several days ago and I am still so full of joy at God's goodness. Because I saw how my God will provide not just the big things, like food, shelter and 21 million dollars...but also a pair of insulated Carharts in just the right size.

This was such an "aha!" experience for me and I know it contained a great message to me from God; much greater than the right size of Carharts. I hope you can relate.

Blessings ONYA cause they sure are on me, and all over Open Door Mission!


12 December 2008

The Need Is Great

Copy from a recent news article

The Open Door Mission in Nebraska served 1,933 meals to the needy on one day alone last month, and the organization reports record high demand for services.

“We are experiencing a 46% increase in demand for services this fall because of the economy,” says Candace Gregory, president and CEO of the nonprofit. While the organization's revenue grew 13% between January and September, Gregory is concerned about how the organization will continue to meet the demand for services, which has grown at a faster pace.

Nonprofit organizations providing the needy with food, shelter and ser­vices have experienced an increase in demand as unemployment, foreclosure and inflation rates have risen in recent months. While giving doesn't appear to have dropped, many of these organizations are putting an extra push behind their outreach efforts to try to keep up with demand.

The Open Door Mission is addressing the issue with the idea that donat­ing two hours a month can make a difference. “Although people may not have $10 or $15 to give this year, they do have time,” Gregory says.

According to Columbia, MD-based agency Merkle, fundraising is down this year for nonprofits in general, but was up in the double-digit range for social services groups through the end of the summer. Fundraising for nonprofits providing social services “tends to do well in a down economy because the story they are telling is truer and more dramatic than ever,” says Jeff Brooks, creative director at Merkle.

One strategy for fundraising suc­cess in these difficult economic times is to keep the messaging relevant, says Lori Burns, EVP at Russ Reid. “Social services organizations have to go to donors and say, ‘The need for services is growing because of what's happening in the economy and we aren't keeping up with demand,'” she says, adding that those nonprofits which continue to talk about business as usual are suffering.

Being relevant, however, can be challenging for nonprofits, which tend to print direct mail months in advance in order to keep prices down. One way nonprofits are getting around this issue is by being more active online. E-mail blasts, social networking, robust Web sites and e-newsletters are all becoming increasingly popular strategies.

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty bolstered its online market­ing program this summer and now has a more robust Web site, a bigger Facebook presence and an e-mail program using Convio's platform.

“Facebook helps us reach younger people for volunteering and for dona­tions,” says Rachel Wizenfeld, communications coordinator at the Metro­politan Council. “We're not looking for big money from Facebook, but we want to cultivate this group.”

Emergency appeals are another way around the long production cycle for fundraising campaigns. These one-page letters arrive in a brightly hued envelope printed with “urgent” or “emergency” on the front. Inside, the letter boldly states the organization's need and asks for a donation. They are usually sent to an organization's most loyal donors.

In recent years, such appeals have been reserved for natural disasters such as hurricanes, Burns reports. However, Russ Reid put together several this fall, including one for the New York City Rescue Mission in November. “When there is an income shortfall and the demand for services is going up, we feel it is appropriate,” says Burns.

The Open Door Mission's Gregory says that one of her biggest hurdles is educating the public on the chal­lenges facing the organization and the community. “Keeping the doors open during these difficult times requires juggling so many different plates — fundraising, services and volunteers,” she says.  


Letter from the community

Back in 2007, I was one of the individuals who had the pleasure of volunteering at the Open Door Mission with a project that Jim Stolze initiated. This year, as one of the team leader's ofDiversity at work, I decided that I should start a project with some other members of our Diversity Team. I called upon Arleen Brace, Patty Pribyl and Tim Gray to join my team in providing Winter Apparel to the Open Door Mission.

We decided to tour the Open Door Mission during one of our lunch periods to better understand what they do, who they serve and what they provide to those less fortunate. Upon arriving we met their Communications Coordinator, Maggie Cope, who is quite an extraordinary individual with an unbelievable amount of compassion and an enormous heart. Once inside, Maggie gave us about a 45 minute tour of some of the facilities. She spoke ofthe 1300 meals a day that they provide, she showed us the kitchen and the bread pantry. She took us to a giant warehouse that was filled with all types of food, canned, boxed, etc. She advised that without donations from others, that pantry would be depleted within about 3-4 days which absolutely overwhelmed the team. Then we toured the Timberlake Outreach Center which is a Center in which they provide all types of services. The Center offers GED & Life Skills Classes, Computer Classes, BiLingual Services, Church Services, Personal Hygiene Classes, Cooking Classes, Nutrition Classes, Food Pantries, Diapers, Clothing, Toys, Furniture and Appliances. King's Kloset which is part of the Center offers bedding, small household items, clothing and families are able to shop once a month and best of all, they pay nothing. In addition, they have a Senior's day, where Senior citizens who are on a fixed income and cannot afford too many extras in life, come in and shop.

Walking through the facilities, Maggie questioned the team on what we thought the average age of a homeless person was. We all guessed in the double digits and was completely shocked when Maggie said Age 9. She also indicated that a majority of these children have become the parents as the parents/adults have mental issues, dependency issues and/or lack of education and they are there to allow the child to learn and still be a child and enjoy some of those things in life, they may have missed out on otherwise. She took us to a playroom where parent's who have lost their children can have visitation and where some of the other's play. She was also very proud ofthat fact that they were in the process ofbuilding a new play area inside a courtyard where the children would be safe and protected from those trying to harm them. Maggie said most ofthe time it is a parent trying to get even with another parent and so they harm the innocent child.
Maggie also told us of a man who's wife became very ill with cancer. It took all they had to try to pay the medical expenses and he ended up there for shelter upon her passing. She also indicated that she did not fear walking around the grounds even at midnight because the homeless would protect her. The team noticed that Maggie spoke to everyone throughout the facility and that individuals would go out of their way just to say Good Afternoon Maggie. Maggie indicated that a lot of people just want someone to talk to, and that a please and thank-you and respect goes a long way in the facilities.

Toward the end of our tour, Maggie took us to some small lockers and asked us ifwe were out of money, had 24 hours to vacate our premises and had no vehicle or family, what we would take with us and it could only be those items that we could carry. She then advised that the contents of those lockers were what individuals held most dear and took from their premises. She also took us to their washing facility and anyone can wash their clothes or bedding there with no charge, they provide the soap etc. and they have individuals who wash 7 days a week and that they always provide a clean blanket for those to sleep with.

Upon the team leaving the facility, it was a definite eye opener, our own problems disappeared and we drove away with a Warm Heart.

Thank You for your support - Open Door Mission Team

11 December 2008

Adopt A Family Benefits from ABWA!

American Business Women's Association loves a challenge, but Adopt a Family was an easy one for this group of caring and competent women!

Open Door Mission's Adopt a Family program encourages sponsors from the community to "adopt" a needy family for Christmas. Sponsors shop, purchase, wrap and tag gifts for all the family members, then deliver the gifts to Open Door Mission just before Christmas.

No small task for most of us, but ABWA attacked the project head-on and had a great time providing for their own "adopted" family.

Many thanks to ABWA for a job well done! We're certain that their "adopted" family will be blessed this Christmas.

10 December 2008

Thanksgiving Thank You's!

We LOVE our mail at Open Door Mission!

Drumstick on Wheels already seems like a decade ago, but for the recipients, the good lingers on.

Yesterday our mailman brought us this wonderful little gift:


The lady and child who delivered it were SO KIND!

I will remember you all when I get back on my feet!

(not her real name)

What a blessing to know that Drumstick on Wheels made a difference in the lives of so many...recipients as well as volunteers and staff.

Thanks again to all who participated.

04 December 2008

Omaha Cosmopolitan Club does it Again!

The Omaha Cosmos Club recently brought a semi trailer packed with 6,000 lbs of gently used clothing to Open Door Mission. They initiated the clothing drive (as they do every year at this time) and parked a semi trailer provided by Batten Trailer Leasing in the Omaha Truck Center. Numerous pickups were made to more than eleven locations of CBSHOME Real Estate, Sandoz Elementary School and other locations.

Jerry Nelson serves as the spokesperson for the Cosmos Club, and was on hand to present the goods to the Mission. "People in the Omaha area are generous and want to give to others who are in need," he said. "Our club has a big heart for Open Door Mission & Lydia House. We are proud of the work they do for the homeless and needy. This is one way we can have a part in that good work."

Thanks to Jerry and the club members, plus all the organizations who worked together to make it happen!

02 December 2008

TE@M Students Participate in Service Learning

 team group
 Team glove

Thank You to A group of MCC TE@M students who recently completed a service learning project at the Open Door Mission. The students developed, prepared and implemented a glove project for children living at the shelter. The children used their creative talents to paint a pair of gloves. The children were also able to color, make a turkey craft and connect with the future teachers of the TE@M program.

“It was wonderful to see the artistic abilities and ownership the children took in creating their gloves,” said Carri Dyer, adjunct instructor. Click here to see the original article online