The reasons that people seek help from the Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership are varied: Many need assistance because of an unexpected bill or a crisis that set them behind for the month.
“Many of these families budget really well, but something comes up and it throws everything off,” said Carmen Bradley, the agency’s family development services director. That might be an unexpected illness or an accident, even a car or home repair that can’t be put off. “When someone is on a fixed income, those hiccups can really be a problem,” Bradley said.
Those are the families that can benefit from funding from Goodfellows, The World-Herald’s charity. As one of the charity’s partner agencies, Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership helps identify people in need of the one-time emergency assistance that Goodfellows provides.
Each month, the agency distributes Goodfellows dollars to about 20 families in both Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The amount per family varies depending on need.
This time of year, the agency often gets requests from families with outstanding utility bills. With shut-off notices looming, families sometimes try to heat their home with space heaters or an oven.
With Goodfellows money, the agency can pay the bill directly to the utility so the family doesn’t have to go without electricity or heat.
Bradley has countless stories of the families who have been helped with Goodfellows funds. Many of those families also benefit from the case management and other services the agency can provide them.
“I’m so grateful for Goodfellows for connecting us and giving us the opportunity to reach out to so many families,” she said. “The donations from (World-Herald readers) enable people in crisis to move forward.”