By Mike Watkins / Special for Open House Mission
Like many people and organizations in the Omaha community, Open Door Mission is feeling the lingering effects of inflation this year.
The organization, whose core values are Rescue, Redeem, Rebuild, and Restore, sees a 67% increase in food costs and a 79% decrease in utility and fuel costs for its fleet of vehicles that drop off and pick up people across the community. They also see a 50% increase in food security issues.
As the holiday season approaches, these increases create a need for Open Door Mission’s services – and their upcoming Feed the Multitudes event is one of the many ways they continue to serve a community in need. Volunteers are desperately needed to help serve meals and other functions within the organization.
People also read…
“Feed the Multitudes is just one of three of our major vacation service programs,” said President and CEO Candace Gregory.
Other programs include Turkey ‘n’ Fixins, which provides Thanksgiving meals to those in need, and the Toy ‘n’ Joy Shop, which allows low-income families to provide gifts for their children.
“Some of our biggest food needs are potatoes and stuffing, as well as cereal and pre-packaged meals, as we try to give extra staples when school is out over the holidays,” Gregory said.
Feed the Multitudes is a partnership with Bellevue Christian Center that includes a drive-thru where people can get takeout containers filled with a traditional turkey dinner.
The pre-cooked meal includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn. People drive through and can take the full meal home and reheat it when they’re ready to eat. There will be bonus foods like bread, soda, desserts and snacks.
The free drive-thru event will be held on Saturday, November 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Open Door Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center, 2705 N. 20th St. E. Follow the flow of traffic once you reach the Open Door mission campus.
Richard Nakai, liaison pastor at Bellevue Christian Center, said this day of giving is important for everyone in the church because they are all called to care for and minister to everyone they can.
Whenever an opportunity presents itself and they can step in, they do it.
“We believe it’s our responsibility to do our part in the strength of our community,” said Nakai, who coordinates volunteer recruitment for the Bellevue Christian Center for Feed the Multitudes and has worked with the Open Door Mission for 15 years.
“Although we are in Bellevue, we understand that many of our residents are blessed by Open Door Mission each year, and we want to help Open Door Mission get all the support they need.”
Unfortunately, due to COVID, the number of volunteers serving at Open Door Mission has changed significantly, with the number of people serving on campus decreasing.
“I would love to find a new normal where hundreds of volunteers return to the Open Door Mission campus each month,” Gregory said. “We are missing hundreds of volunteers on the Open Door Mission campus after the pandemic.
“You’re never too young or too old to make a difference,” she said. “We would love for you, your family and colleagues to volunteer with us to meet the growing needs of the community.”
Like Gregory and the rest of the Open Door Mission staff, Nakai understands the key role that volunteers play at Feed the Multitudes and other opportunities to give back and help to the community.
“I believe we have a close-knit and caring metropolitan community in Omaha, and if we all work together, Omaha could be a city that leads in eliminating food insecurity,” he said.
Open Door Mission has many urgent needs this holiday season. To volunteer for Feed the Multitudes and other Open Door Mission events, visit www.opendoormission.org.