Omaha Media Has A Heart for Nonprofits
This week the Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha is decked out with scarves, each with a note attached that lists the numbers for Heartland Family Service’s (HFS) street outreach program and shelter resources.
The project, coordinated by a group called the Secret Kindness Agents, is meant to provide a little warmth to those in need, and put them in touch with help, without forcing anything on anyone.
It’s a clever way of reaching those who might be cut off from other forms of communication. And the attention that it’s gotten from media outlets such as The Omaha World Herald and WOWT helps to remind people who aren’t confronted with the issue very often that Omaha has residents who are cold, homeless and in need of help.
In fact, homelessness and poverty are huge issues in Omaha – perhaps bigger than most people realize. According to HFS, on any given day, there are more than 1,400 children and adults in our community who are experiencing some form of homelessness.
On a more hopeful note, there are resources and organizations available, and our local media is great about supporting their efforts, particularly during this month that is all about love. In fact, HFS’s annual Carnival of Love, which will be held, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, has gotten feature stories in Council Bluffs’ Daily Nonpareil and in Omaha’s Strictly Business. The recognition not only helps with attendance, but it also inspires local businesses to get in on the action by donating.
The winter edition of Today’s Omaha Woman is devoted to organizations that help families and individuals on the brink. Including stories on Goodwill Industries, Together Omaha (which provides temporary assistance to people in crisis), Youth Emergency Services (which serves homeless and at-risk youth), and many other local nonprofits, the magazine shines a much-needed spotlight on the great work these organizations do.
Every city has its problems, but being able to shine a light on them and the resources that are there to help is a true sign of a community spreading the love.