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People who go to agencies that work with Goodfellows in distributing emergency financial assistance get more than just help with a bill.
The organizations also help to ensure those people stay on solid footing.
The Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership is one of the social services agencies that distributes the Goodfellows funds raised during the annual holiday drive. The bulk of those Goodfellows funds is used through the year to provide one-time emergency payments that get people through rough times.
Nancy Livingston, an official with the partnership, said the organization's employees act as stewards to make sure assistance gets to those in need.
“We were getting up to 400 calls a month for assistance, and it was becoming overwhelming,” Livingston said.
So the agency requires those who receive help to become involved in one of its programs or one through another approved community organization.
Livingston said the requirement is intended to ensure that aid recipients, not just those being helped with Goodfellows funds, become successful and work toward financial stability.
The Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership offers programs in youth development and enrichment, mental health and substance abuse, helping the elderly live independently, a supplemental food program and an employment initiative called Opening Doors to Success.
The organization also works with other social services agencies to enroll people in budgeting or parenting classes, among others.
Heartland Family Service, another Goodfellows partner, also offers numerous programs for community members who are struggling.
The organization does not require enrollment in a program to receive Goodfellows aid, but it looks at each applicant's situation to understand how the organization might be able to help further.
“Sometimes I meet with the family,” said Leann Quiroz of the agency's north Omaha office. “If I see they're struggling financially and they don't have a budget, I will try to refer them to someone in the community who can help.”
Heartland Family Service works with the poverty-stricken, homeless and domestic violence victims. It also offers numerous programs ranging from drug and alcohol counseling to an emergency youth shelter to a child resource center.
“A lot of the programs we have here are on a sliding-fee scale,” Quiroz said. “So if someone is needing counseling, if they can pay, they can pay. If they can't, we can set up something that works for them.”
Other programs include the career clothing closet and a medication fund for senior citizens.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1304, firstname.lastname@example.org
Goodfellows provides assistance to thousands of families each year. It has raised and distributed nearly $10 million since 1945. With The World-Herald paying all administrative costs, every dollar donated to Goodfellows goes directly to disadvantaged families – helping them with one-time urgent needs, providing holiday meals and providing funds for clothing, shoes and coats. Click here to learn more about Goodfellows.
Click here to donate to the 2012 drive, or mail your contribution to:
World-Herald Goodfellows Charities, Inc.
1314 Douglas St.
Omaha, NE 68102
To contact Goodfellows, call 402-444-1388 or email email@example.com.