29 June 2011

The Power of a Smile

As a mom of two preschoolers, I know toys. Both my son and daughter have trunks in each of their rooms filled to the brim. I keep a few small ones in the car and maybe even one or two in my purse. As a mom, I know that when my children are feeling anxious or a little distressed that a little itty bitty toy, even, can add comfort and a sense of home.

That point was seriously driven home on a recent visit to the Timberlake Outreach Center. For those of you that might not know, the Timberlake Outreach Center recently expanded its hours. It is now open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and boy has it been busy! I can’t think of a single time when I have seen the parking lot empty since they announced the expansion. And hours aren’t all – they’ve added walls, a Community Choice Pantry and Bright Space…it is the place to be!

While doing a quick walk-thru I saw a little girl that was a bit taken back by it all. Her personality reminded me so much of my own daughter. She had the most gorgeous fine black hair and the biggest brown eyes…and you could tell she was shy. See my little one is the introvert, herself. It doesn’t matter if she knows every single person in the room, just the fact that the room is packed puts her off. She gets shy, withdraws, and quickly wraps around my legs where she’ll stay glued to me. That’s how this little girl was and she was beautiful.

It didn’t take long for staff to notice. One of our ladies approached the little one on her knees, extended a hand and whispered, “Let’s see if there’s anything special in the back.” As I watched her timidly walk toward the back of the floor – it was as if she had entered a fairytale toy store. Her eyes lit up with a special little sparkle and her smile gleamed bright as she pointed out a fat stuffed animal. Her smile was so contagious that somehow it flew off her face and landed on mine. Before I knew it, it landed on the staff person holding her hand, her mom and a few others. The whole back floor grew warmer.

Then I got a closer look at the toy- a chubby, misshapen, pinkish gray pig, with only one eye. I’m guessing it started off pink with two eyes but the years of wear and tear were pretty evident. Yet that little girl was none the wiser… to her that toy was better than brand new. She walked in timidly but left floating on a cloud. It was the literal expression of hope. In that moment she left all her worries behind and enjoyed a shear moment of being a child.

You may not be homeless or live on the Open Door Mission campus but if you’re in a financial crunch or feeling despair – please know we are here to help. The Timberlake Outreach Center is serving the community in record numbers and no one is turned away. There is clothing, diapers, food pantries, furniture, toys…fun, hope and smiles…all free of charge.

Service with a smile,

28 June 2011

Timberlake Outreach Center

The Timberlake Outreach Center is the prevention side of the Open Door Mission and like every other area and program on our campus it seems like there is rarely a dull moment, there is always something happening. Hundreds of people who are in extreme crisis or nearly homeless come through our doors to receive help with their immediate needs and also to receive help setting and achieving short and long term goals so they can work towards a better life in the future.

Here are a few examples of people in our community who came to the Timberlake Outreach Center for help:

  • A mother of four needed beds for her children and shared how she wants to break the cycle of generational poverty for herself and her children.

  • A donor came in for a food pantry and to shop at our Kings Kloset. She shared how she had given to our mission financially in the past and had never thought she would be in a position where she would need our help; but through a series of circumstances found she needed our assistance.

  • A senior citizen came in with a three month old baby. She had been given temporary custody of a family member’s child until the mother was able to get healthy enough to care for her child. This woman needed everything for the baby clothes, diapers, formula, etc.
    Each of these people received the things they requested and that helped meet their immediate need. As I stated earlier hundreds of people in our community come to the Timberlake Outreach Center to shop for things they can’t afford to purchase at the local store. Along with helping them in their present situation we give them hope for their future. We do this by affirming God’s love for them, offering prayer, resources and programs that will help them set and achieve immediate and long term goals so they and their family can have a better life.
I have shared all this with you because I want you to know we could not help the people we do at the mission without your help and support. Thank you for your gifts, donations and for the times you have come down to the mission to volunteer your services. I pray that God will bless you for your kindness to the poor.

If you would like a tour of the Timberlake Outreach Center or would like to hear more about our programs please give me a call at ( 402) 829-1540

Joyfully serving Jesus,

Judy Collins
Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center
Open Door Mission

27 June 2011

Hope Begins with a Meal!

Today I want to tell you about a group of employees who may be behind the scenes at Open Door Mission; however without them we could not provide hot nutritious meals.

At the Open Door Mission we believe that hope begins with a meal. Can you imagine serving three meals a day 365 days a year and never knowing how many people will show up on any given day? That’s what our hospitality team faces everyday. They serve about 1,500 meals a day.

We have an outstanding hospitality team lead by Chef Claudzell Meeks. His faithful co-laborers are Ramon Bermudez, Sabrina McNeal and David Duncan. You never know what they will be making on any given day, but know this: it is made with love and it will be yummy.

Perhaps you feel a tug to get involved at Open Door Mission. You don’t have to be an employee! You can start as a volunteer. Visit our volunteer page today and learn about volunteer opportunities. I look forward to seeing you around here soon!

Amy Buss
Open Door Mission
HR Director

24 June 2011

Restoring Familes is what Open Door Mission is about!

My name is Rey Rios and I work at the Open Door Mission for the reason that, God has My name is Rey Rios and I work at the Open Door Mission for the reason that, God has given me an awesome opportunity to make a huge impact in the Omaha community. I love to share who Jesus Christ is with people because, truly the only answer to poverty, hunger and homelessness is JESUS CHRIST!

God is moving greatly at the Open Door Mission in the lives of many clients like Mike and his wife Michelle. Mike came into the Open Door Mission to seek refuge and accomplish two things. He came to reconnect with God and get his family back on their feet. Mike knew deep down inside to put God first and because of his faithfulness to Christ, God used the Open Door Mission to get him and his family back to a dignifying level of independent living. Mike Dowsing has stated he could have not done it without God and without the Open Door Mission. He now has a good paying job; working 40 to 50 hours a week and every Sunday attends church with his family, developing a greater relationship with Jesus than ever before. “JESUS!”

23 June 2011

Make a Child's Life Special!

Do you remember that first day of school? The new clothes and backpack, as well as a new teacher and classroom made it a special day. But what if you didn’t have any new clothes, how special would you feel? For homeless and near homeless children the feeling is despair, disappointment and discouragement. You can help change that by helping Open Door Mission provide new clothes for Back to School for the children we serve. Please consider doing a Back to School Bash drive to help Open Door Mission provide 200-300 children with a new outfit and shoes for that first day back to school. You can make a difference in a child’s life and give hope to their family. You can make a child feel special! Please call me to find out more about Back to School Bash.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

21 June 2011

International Aid

I had the privilege of leading a good sized volunteer group on Monday and Tuesday. This group was not only hard working and joyous, they had also come all the way from Hong Kong. Their group of Churches, is partnered with Omaha’s Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. The two groups do an exchange several times a year with their members. It is a GREAT idea, and it was wonderful to see in action. The group I was working with was middle school to high school age youth. They were chatty, fun, and hard working and spoke and understood English fluently.

Their attitudes while helping us put our mailers together was, to say the least, competitive. They were split into three different groups and each was vying to beat the other. I would deliver the totals of each group to the other teams and it would solidify their lead, or help to bolster their efforts. As they worked, I tried to learn a bit of Mandarin Chinese, thought I did a decent job at pronouncing it, sadly I did not retain any of it.

On our tour they were eager to capture everything. Pictures of signs and different facilities we operate. You could tell they were excited to be here and to take back as much as possible. Sadly their 6 hour day had to come to an end and they went back to the other part of their missions trip working with Beautiful Savior’s VBS.

Needless to say I was very excited to hear they were returning the next day. They came in and they requested to work with me! Man was I pumped. We had everything all ready to go for them. Because of the possible flood situation arising here at the mission, we had them helping us prepare for it by gathering, organizing and packing, all the hygienic supplies we need for a relocation. Once we were all done we were able to take a few minutes to do a little interview and tour they will be taking back to their home church’s in Hong Kong. It was just a blessing to see the unity in the Body of Christ. We as Christians have brothers and sisters across the globe. We hold the deepest connection possible with these people and it shows in meetings. My experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo reflects this same unity. It was awesome of God to provide yet another affirmation of this truth.

Taylor Clinch

20 June 2011

Noah Built An Ark!!

OK, I don't think ark building is in order but what can we say about the rising and raging Missouri river but WOW!? The river continues to rise and people and communities are being devastated. If you happen to live more than a mile or two from the river you might not even know there's a problem unless you try to take a quick drive north or south on I-29. So first and foremost friends, can we all continue to pray for those people whose homes, farms and businesses are in trouble, or already under water? When you get done praying, please make a call and see how you can be of assistance to those people. There are a number of organizations working to help, and I hope all of you will consider being a part of that effort.

As for the Mission and the rising flood waters, here is what's happening. Right now, we are high and dry. Our proximity to the airport means we are the beneficiaries of the most amazing flood protection effort that man may be capable of. We want to say thank you and offer prayers for each and every person involved in that effort. Unfortunately, our proximity to the airport also means we are at ground zero if a levy does break. We believe the new buildings are high enough not to be flooded, but roads would be under, and access lost until waters recede. Hope and pray for the best, but plan for the worst is the way we are working.

Our staff and volunteers, while trying to operate as normally as possible, are making preparations in case the worst happens. If a levy breaks, we will have to move and move quickly, so we are getting ready. We spent a couple of weeks moving food and supplies out of our warehouse, and getting it to higher elevations. I'm not sure why people smile (I think I even saw a few giggles) when they see me driving a bobcat!? To all of those who helped and are helping with that effort we want to say THANK YOU!

Friends we are in full operation unless and until we are forced to make a change. So please continue to pray, with us and for us, and please come down and be a part of changing lives!!! I am amazed by our staff, our volunteers and supporters, and mostly by our God, who even in adversity, continues to bless us each and every day.

Cris Morris
Open Door Mission
Operations Director

17 June 2011

Reconcilling Men to Jesus

As we settle into the temporary Garland Thompson Men’s Center, I can’t help but think of the thousands that passed through the doors in the building that’s nearing demolition day. Lives filled with despair, hopelessness , and hunger. They were fed, clothed, housed, and led to the Lord. They were brought here by the same that led me here nine years ago-“ Guide my steps by your word”-Psalm 119:133. Our Lord Jesus Christ has brought us together to serve and be served. He continues in his provision to give us all we need- He is truly a mighty and merciful God. “But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone. For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.”Psalm 109:30-31. Thank you Lord.


Patrick J. McKernan
Open Door Mission
Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

16 June 2011

Hope For Generations

Michelle’s mom, Susie, graduated from the New Life Recovery Program in 1999. However, soon after graduation, Susie fell back into her old life of drug abuse. She was too ashamed to let the Lydia House counselors and staff know that she had relapsed. Yet Susie was determined to change her life. She had kept all of the coursework she was given through the New Life Recovery Program. “I knew all the tools. I knew all the things I needed. I just needed to really focus and work on it,” explains Susie. That is exactly what she did.

Recently, Susie celebrated her eighth year of sobriety and is excited to have Christ in her life. Though now retired, she had successfully worked her way up from cashier to manager of a fast food restaurant. She encourages her family and friends to join the New Life Recovery Program. Susie exclaims, “This place saved my life.” She is so grateful for what Open Door Mission has done for her and her family that she helps out today any way she can.

JoAnn Dodd
Public Relations/Direct Mail Supervisor

Would you like Open Door Mission to send you e-communications about up coming events, stories of hope, volunteer opportunities and so much more. Click here to sign up for Open Door Mission’s e-communications.

Thank you for partnering with Open Door Mission to Change Lives.

13 June 2011

Youth Making A Difference

On Friday, Open Door Mission was blessed to have a bunch of youth from 2 different churches here in Omaha give up their time and volunteer on the Open Door Mission Campus. Here are a few examples of what these youth did.

  • Youth sorted clothes, organized and stocked the shelves at the Timberlake Outreach Center so low income families and individuals can come supplement their income, empowering them to remain in their own homes and prevent homelessness.

  • Youth helped at the Administration building with a hugh mailing that will save the Open Door Mission thousands of dollars.

  • Youth helped serve a hot, nutritious meal to many hungry and homeless men, women, and children.

If you you would like to have a life changing volunteer opportunity please give Corine a call today at 402-422-1111 or visit http://www.opendoormission.org/ and click on the volunteer button and sign up to have your orientation and tour today.

09 June 2011

Our Lady of Peace Communion Project Brings Hope to Lydia House

Mary-Francis decided to help others in a special way for her Communion/ Confirmation project. She made and collected personal care bags and filled them with a variety of personal care items. She donated these special bags to the women at Lydia House. Mary-Francis’ enthusiasm for her project carried over to the rest of the Communion class at Our Lady of Peace and they helped to collect even more personal care items for Lydia House and Open Door Mission. A big thank you to these young people, and especially Mary-Francis’ leadership for bringing hope and much needed personal care items to the clients of Open Door Mission.

Would your youth group like to do a community service project? If so please contact me with your idea or I will be happy to share some of Open Door Mission’s needs. Mary-Francis and her Communion/Confirmation class chose to make a difference-won’t you?

Maggie Cope
Open Door Mission Communications Coordinator

08 June 2011

Shadowlake Community Church Youth Make A Difference

Open Door Mission is providing safe shelter to over 400 men, women, and children, serving more than 1,700, hot nutritious meals and empowering more than 250 low income families and individuals to remain in their own homes and prevent homeless and we could not do it without faithful volunteers.

Kimmy and a group of youth from Shadow Lake Community Church are here today volunteering their time at the Timberlake Outreach Center and Administration Building. They are helping sort clothes and organize and stack the shelves to get ready for King’s Klosek tomorrow so low income families and individuals can come supplement their income, empowering them to remain in their own homes and prevent homelessness and others are helping get ready for a summer mailing.

Candace takes time to have a photo with these great group of girls who helped with a mailing

A great group of boys helped at the Timberlake Outreach Center getting ready for King's Kloset

Could you give 2 hours of your time to come serve a meal, sort clothes or even read a book please visit www.opendoormission.org and click on the volunteer button and sign up for your orientation and tour today.

07 June 2011

Paying it Forward

Open Door Mission is paying it forward today. The Coast Guard called to see if they could use our flatbed to help move sand bags to the levy behind us - and of course we said, "YES

Candace Gregory, President/CEO with a member of the United States Coast Guard.

06 June 2011

Day Camp Starts

Today was the 1st day of Open Door Mission Day Camp. Many homeless and needy children in the Heartland, ages 5 - 12 had a great time. Each day, these children will recieve 3, hot nutritious meals, arts and crafts, Bible stories, educational tutoring, recreational games, field trips and so much more. Best of all this can be done in a very safe theroputic enviroment for them to grow.

Check out these few photos from today and notice the smilies on their faces.

Boys enjoying fooseball after lunch

A group of campers stopped their game of "Simon Says"

long enough for me to take a photo.

Children enjoying playing outside on this hot day.

If you would like to sponsor one of these homeless and needy children please visit www.opendoormission.org. your $49 donation will provide a week of fun in the sun for one of these children.

01 June 2011

Message from the President / CEO

Dear Friend,

I just want to personally say thank you for your support of Open Door Mission. For over 50 years the generosity of the Heartland has been shown to us in so many ways. Lives are being changed, daily.

Recently it has been brought to my attention, that people in the community that are going door to door stating they are "fund-raising" on behalf of Open Door Mission. I want to inform you that Open Door Mission is not going door to door to solicit. If someone comes to your door stating they are collecting money or selling something for the Open Door Mission, they are doing so without the knowledge or authorization of Open Door Mission.

If you have any questions please contact me personally at 402-422-1111.


President / CEO