Sitting in her four-bedroom town house a month ago, after answering a series of questions from a reporter, Nyachal Reat had one of her own.
Do you think people will donate when they read my story?
The former refugee and mother of eight was embarrassed to ask, but in her 13 years in Omaha, she had come to know that this city has good people. Generous people.
Her answer came not long after The World-Herald ran her story at the end of November, on the first day of the 2017 Goodfellows campaign. The article told of the three days Reat and her family had gone without electricity and how Goodfellows funds helped pay off her outstanding electric bill.
The story prompted more donations to Goodfellows, including two donors who together gave $450 directly to Reat so she could buy clothes for her children.
Those people exemplify the kindness of World-Herald readers who have, as of today, contributed $543,646.85 to Goodfellows, topping last year’s Christmas Day tally of $539,424.36.
Sue Violi, the charity’s executive director, said it is “a testament to the generosity of Omaha” to be able to exceed last year’s Dec. 25 total. But with one more week in the campaign, she hopes the momentum continues so that 2017’s campaign can top last year’s $723,386.59 and set a record for the fifth straight year.
Because the newspaper covers all administrative costs, all of the money donated to Goodfellows goes directly to providing emergency assistance, holiday food vouchers and clothing vouchers to needy families.
“Goodfellows helps close the gap that some of our neighbors face in times of crisis,” Violi said.
Though the annual drive runs during the holidays, donations are accepted year-round. Stories for the 2017 drive end today, but donors still will be acknowledged in lists. A final report and list will appear in early January.