26 November 2009

Turkey Day & Beyond

Thanksgiving is certainly in the air with the great smell of Turkey in the oven and pumpkin pies cooling on the counter top. At least that is part of the wonderful aroma in my household. That is also the experience for many in need in the Omaha community because hundreds of volunteers delivered thousands of Turkey N Fixins boxes this past weekend. Thanks for all the donations, deliveries, and prayers. It is time to give thanks to God for all our blessings in life, especially his eternal grace expressed through Jesus Christ.

Speaking of Jesus, celebrating his birth is just around the corner. After Turkey Day, many of us will head to the malls to get those gifts for family and friends, as we recall the gifts the Magi shared with the Christ child. At Open Door Mission Christmas gifts - especially toys for boys & girls - are all around. It almost looks like Santa’s workshop as preparations for Project Santa are in full gear. This year over 6,000 toys will be given out by Open Door Mission to children in need. Thanks for your donations of toys, volunteering to prepare their distribution, and your prayers for those who receive them.

But first things first - time to join in prayer with family before we fill up the plates with our Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director

25 November 2009

I Am Thankful

This year I find myself more thankful than years gone by. I am still thankful for Jesus, family and friends, America, religious freedom, etc. However, this year has taken a turn for me that was totally unexpected. Recently, my son suddenly passed away. My world “seemed” to stop, and yet continued. I found myself going through the days that followed wondering how I would go on. Still, all the while, it was with a peace that was unwavering. That’s when I realized just how blessed I am.

I am blessed to be working with a truly amazing organization - Open Door Mission. It is not just a place to work, but a family - a family of believers that are here to support, uplift and pray for me. The simple comfort that the Lord covers me with is shown daily, through my co-laborers. Their warmth is sustaining me. I love each and every one of them! Phil. 1:3

I am blessed with assurance that my son is with our Lord, Jesus Christ. My son was a simple young man with a simple faith. This was exactly what God has asked of us - to come to him with the faith of a child - never was it more apparent to me how urgent it is that we share the word of God to the world. “God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” I am thankful that I live in a nation where I can worship the Lord, Jesus Christ. I am blessed that I work with a family that shares the love of Christ, and thankful for the Lord himself. He came to save us all, not just a few or some, but ALL OF US! We need only believe in Him! John 3:16-17.

I am overcome with an awesome peace that can only come from my Lord.
I pray that you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord of your life.

Kate Fischer
Emergency Services Case Manager

24 November 2009

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s easy to get caught up in our own situations and sometimes we don’t take the time to reach out to others. On the way to work, I heard the song: They Don’t Understand by Sawyer Brown. Here is some of the song:

A mother riding on a city bus
Kids are yelling kicking up a fuss
Everybody's staring not knowing what she's going through
Somebody said don't you even care?
Do you let 'em do that everywhere?
She slowly turned around, looked up and stared
She said Please forgive them
But they've been up all night
Their father struggled but he finally lost his fight
He went to heaven
In the middle of the night
So please forgive my children

(They don't understand)
Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world
Bottled up, hurry it up trying to make a dream come true
(They don't understand)
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never really know what your neighbor's going through

Many people come through Open Door Mission’s doors because of losing a job, a loved one, fire destroyed their house, suffering domestic abuse and so many other reasons. We might not ever know why they are here, but we, as staff, are blessed to be able offer a warm meal and a place that is safe for them to lay their head. In 1 John 3:17-18 it says "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." We don’t know what the people we serve are going through, but we can show them the love of Jesus and to me, that is the best gift of all.

Perhaps you feel a tug to get involved at Open Door Mission. Visit our volunteer page today and learn about volunteer opportunities. I look forward to seeing you around here soon!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

23 November 2009

Another Great Saturday

Saturday was a fabulous day! Open Door Mission was blessed with over 800 volunteers that helped deliver Turkey ‘n Fixin’ boxes to those in need throughout the Omaha & Council Bluffs communities. These volunteers braved the cold, foggy morning and did it with smiles on their faces!

We also had wonderful volunteers help sort through our Christmas gifts that will be given out through our Project Santa program in December. This is always a fantastic time of year remembering how thankful we at Open Door Mission are for each of you. As we look forward to what this season holds, would you join us? We are thankful for your prayers, gently used household donations, volunteer hours, and monetary gifts. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces at Open Door Mission as we partner together!

Patti Cummings
Volunteer Associate

18 November 2009

WorkNet Volunteers

Often, people think that the only way to volunteer at Open Door Mission is in the kitchen, cleaning or sorting clothes. This pictures is of Jennifer from Gallup Corp., who volunteered 2 hours in September to assist our WorkNet program with mock interviews - preparing our clients for the work force. No matter what your skills are, we can use you!

Joy Stevens
WorkNet Director

16 November 2009

Mission Bean Coffee Update

Coffee lovers now have even more reason to savor every sip. Because when you purchase Mission Bean Coffee, you not only get to enjoy the rich flavor of some of the world's finest coffee, you'll be breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty with Open Door Mission.

Mission Bean Coffee can be purchased at

Open Door Mission’s Administration Building or

the following Hy-Vee stores:

10808 Fort St - Omaha, NE

3405 Oak View Dr - Omaha, NE

3410 N. 156th St - Omaha, NE

JoAnn Dodd
Public Relations Coordinator

14 November 2009

Red, White and Blue Salute

What do you get when you mix one U.S. Air Force Chaplain, one Military Color Guard, several dozen caring volunteers, a talented kitchen staff - who prepared and served over 700 banquet-quality dinners - other Open Door Mission staff and board members; plus many honored vets receiving honest gratitude for the service they gave to their country? Mix in some patriotic music and veteran lapel pins given to all the honored vets, and you have a Red, White and Blue Salute to Homeless Veterans!

That is what happened on November 10th here at Open Door Mission. Air Force Chaplain Captain Travis Allen gave a wonderful thank-filled message to over 100 individuals gathered in the chapel in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.

The festivities started with a wonderful meal served to all staying at the Mission by many volunteers from groups such as Deeb Realty, Orizon CPA and Yonkers. The program commenced with the presentation of our nation’s flag by the Offutt Air Force Base Color Guard. The Color Guard was stretched to the limit, but still ready to give dignity to the program.

I spoke with the Chaplain and he informed me that the Color Guard had been present at 28 funerals and celebrations in the last week alone. That’s a lot of service but they never faltered. They did their country proud! Board members and staff recognized our honored vets with prayers, hand shakes and lapel pins for all.

The most meaningful thing to me was when we asked the vets to come to the microphone, give their name, branch of military and dates of service. Their pride in country and service came forward—and just again for a short time they returned to the ranks of America’s best. It didn’t matter if they were homeless and without a job. What mattered and should always matter is that they were recognized as part of a long line of citizen warriors who put nation ahead of self. May we always treat them with that respect!

Rev. Thomas G. Meradith
Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

13 November 2009

“Bring Your Turkey to Church” Sunday at Celebration Covenant Church

Celebration Covenant Church had its second “Bring Your Turkey to Church” on November 8th. The congregation brought 51 turkeys, 150 lbs of canned goods and financial gifts to purchase at least 15 more turkeys to help Open Door Mission provide a hot, nutritious Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and near homeless in the metro area. Many of the families are also volunteering to help deliver Turkey 'N' Fixin's boxes to families on November 21st.

Thanks to Celebration Covenant’s congregation for choosing to make a difference this holiday season.

Would you like to make a difference too? Would you like to help provide hope and food for a needy family? Please stop by your favorite Omaha area Hy-Vee on Friday, November 13, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., shop for turkeys and non-perishable food items for Open Door Mission.

Do you like to drive? Would you like to deliver turkeys and food boxes to the families? Open Door Mission needs 800 drivers to help deliver Turkey'n'Fixin's in the metro area. Deliver TURKEY 'N' FIXIN'S boxes.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

12 November 2009

Back on the Front Lines

This is not the first blog I’ve written since moving to Open Door Mission’s Community Services Department in September. Moving my office to the Timberlake Outreach Center, from the Advancement Department has changed my daily routine 95%. Why 95% and not 100%? No matter what department of Open Door Mission you work in, Karen Applegate will be quick to remind you that you work in Advancement. We are all ambassadors of Open Door Mission to our own unique circle of friends, contacts, and church and home family.

The other thing that is the same, is every single staff member of Open Door Mission, be they a case manager, cook, receptionist or executive believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and is committed to sharing the Good News with whomever they meet. This has not and never will change for me, but I have experienced a wonderful increase in my opportunity to share my faith as part of the Community Services team!

On a daily basis, I have the privilege of meeting with a dozen or more individuals/families who have come through the doors of the Timberlake Outreach Center. Each client is in my office because they have a distinct physical need for furniture or bedding, but I also get the opportunity to minister to their emotional and spiritual needs.

What an awesome privilege to be a part of sharing God’s blessings with those who are in need! You can play a vital role in this ministry by donating your gently used clothing, furniture, appliances and house wares! Some of the items needed most are beds, appliances, kitchen tables and chairs, and dressers.

You can drop your items off at our new receiving area in the back of the Timberlake Outreach Center, or bring them to A-Plus Williamson Automotive, 2 blocks south of 149th and Industrial for our monthly Stuff-A-Truck on November 21st. I will be there personally to thank you for your donation and give you a tax-deductible receipt.
Darren Timberlake
Resource Case Manager

11 November 2009

Receiving Area

Change is seldom easy, but often beneficial. We are undergoing some significant changes at the Timberlake Outreach Center, one of which is the relocation of the receiving area where Gift-in-Kind donations are dropped off. Last week part of the wall was removed on the east side of our building and a garage door was installed in preparation to relocate the receiving area to our building.

Last Saturday, numerous volunteers and staff worked hard to prepare our building for this transition. Monday, we officially opened the new receiving area for business. This significant change will greatly enhance the receiving and distribution of your donations into the hands of our clients in a more efficient and timely matter.

Your generous donations of furniture, clothing, appliances, household items, etc. permit us to help our clients receive needed items they can not afford to purchase. Thank you for partnering with Open Door Mission to help fight the battle of homelessness; in doing so, you are giving to families less fortunate and helping them have a better life.

So, the next time you bring your Gift-in-Kind donations to Open Door Mission remember to bring them to the Timberlake Outreach Center receiving area. You can’t miss it--just follow the signs. And while you’re here, please stop for a visit. I would love to give you a tour of our Timberlake Outreach Center and tell you about the various programs and ministries Open Door Mission offers to help prevent homelessness. May God bless you, as you generously bless others.

Joyfully Serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center

07 November 2009

It's A Marathon!

I recently attended a graduation celebration for Open Door Mission guests that completed the New Life Recovery Program or the Journey to Work Program. We praised God together in worship and then heard the testimonies of the graduates before a time of food and fellowship.

As I heard the graduates tell where they have been (unemployed, incarcerated, suffering an addiction, and/or victims of domestic abuse) and where they are now (sober, disciples of Christ, employed and filled with hope) I viewed their months in their Open Door Mission program as a marathon for each of them.

I am a marathon runner and I know that in the midst of the run there are points of joy as one passes mile markers and hears the crowds cheering you on. In addition, there are many instances of pain, suffering, and wondering if you can finish. Our graduates have passed through many joyful thresholds of accomplishment in their programs and they have been cheered on by staff, fellow students, and family members. Yet, each graduate has also experienced much pain and suffering along the way as they have withdrawn from addictions and changed thought patterns and actions that have been destructive in the past. They have crossed the finish line because in Christ all things are possible and they are now ready for a new life that breaks the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Praise God that each graduate is now ready to run the race ahead of them in life and become a blessing to others as they draw on blessings from God each day!

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director

06 November 2009

Con Agra Team Building = Fleece Blankets!

Con Agra Enterprise Procurement decided to initiate team building with a mission. The mission was to not only to build a stronger team, but also provide blankets for Open Door Mission. So the 30 people on their team went to work making fleece blankets. There was laughter, hard work, fun and two hours later there were 21 handmade blankets for the Mission. Their efforts are much appreciated because these blankets will provide a special warmth this winter with hope for the holidays and a better life.

Would your group, organization or church like to provide hope also? Please visit Open Door Mission's website to find out how you can bring Hope for the Holidays to the thousands of hungry and homeless in your community.

Make a difference this holiday season…
Thank you for helping break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

04 November 2009

As I sit here on a Friday, I am contemplating the end of one week and yet the beginning of a new one and how that is true over the whole spectrum of life. Every ending is a new beginning for something. For instance, in recovery, one has to end their old life style in order to begin a new one. Someone once told me that every change in life is both a loss and a gain depending on how one chooses to focus on it. That is definitely something that we teach our men here at Open Door Mission and it is greatly empowering as well. Rarely do we find anyone who has been through more losses than our men here on the recovery program. If they can begin to view those past losses as changes instead of meaningless experiences they suffered and trust God who was and is still in control, they can begin for the first time in their lives to realize some of the true power of Christ in setting them free. Not so much freedom from the pain as freedom from slavery to it. We call it “reframing”. Taking an experience, looking at it realistically, and figuring out what God has to offer and teach us from it.

As I write this, I must admit that I am so proud of our men. Lately, they have been put through a barrage of changes and have chosen to focus on them in a positive life-changing way. The Word of God teaches us that we are all made in His image and therefore people carry so much more potential than we realize. It is definitely a privilege to see our men prove that daily.

That’s why our Lord died on a cross 2,000 years ago, isn’t it? This certainly was a horrendously evil event, definitely an incredible loss. Yet, God brought out of that very act the most blessed event in mankind’s history - He redeemed us and made us righteous. The most evil act was made the most righteous act; the biggest loss in history was made into the greatest gain of all time. I can’t think of a more important message for our men to understand.

It was my privilege just 2 days ago to be setting with one of our men explaining this to him when he told me that he was already saved but needed to act upon it and start building his life on this foundation. So he decided to rededicate his life to Christ on the spot. I don’t have to tell you what an honor that was for me. Further, that is something we get to experience all the time here. Our men have the same potential that we do, just different experiences. When those experiences lead to life-altering beliefs, the only cure is Biblical beliefs. Recovery is essentially replacing faulty belief systems (in several areas) with appropriate belief systems. Isn’t it great to have that from an objective source? Thank God for his revealed Word or all I would be able to offer is my own faulty beliefs. Beliefs have tremendous transforming power. No wonder the Word of God has so much to say about belief from cover to cover.

The weather is changing, the economy is changing, and the world is changing around us, but I just praise Him for the anchor He has provided and hope to teach others to do so too.

Stan Latta
Men’s Recovery Services Director

02 November 2009

Thank you Kwik Shop and Kwik Shop Customers

Thank you Kwik Shop and Kwik Shop customers that took part in the "Buy A Plate" to help support the Open Door Mission. For the entire month of September, Kwik Shop did a fund raiser to help the Open Door Mission provide hot, nutritious meals to many hungry and homeless men, women, and children.
In the above picture Candace Gregory, President/CEO stands with Jimmy Lewis, Kwik Shop Regional Operations Manager, and other employees that made this all possible. They presented Candace with a check for over $22,000 that was collected in this fundraiser.
Open Door Mission is grateful for the partnership with Kwik Shop.