Initially started nearly thirty years ago in response to increased requests from members in the north Omaha community seeking food, clothing, shelter and financial assistance, the Heart Ministry Center has always aimed to assist people needing life’s most basic necessities.
The Heart Ministry Center originated nearly 40 years ago as the Sacred Heart Human Needs Door Ministry. Beginning in 1982, under the leadership of Father Jim Scholz and Sr. Mary Ann Murphy the door ministry provided food, clothing, and other basic needs for neighbors and families of children enrolled at Sacred Heart School. In 1997, the ministry moved to a building at 31st and Spaulding Street and became known as the Heart Ministry Center.
In 2002, Fr. Tom Fangman enlisted the support of 12 community and business leaders to raise funds for the construction of new building to house the Heart Ministry Center. Construction was completed in May 2005 and the current Center located at 24th and Binney Streets opened to assist those in need. With construction and operation of the new building, the Heart Ministry Center formed a board of directors and became a fully independent 501 (c)3 organization in 2007.
During the first two years at the new location, the Center experienced tremendous growth, expanding from providing 3,000 services a year to 16,000 services a year. The Center became Omaha’s first “choice” food pantry, allowing clients to select their own foods. Over time, the Center expanded its range of services to include Pathway, a self-sufficiency program for single mothers and partnered with Creighton University to provide free basic medical care.
Beginning in 2010, the Center entered into another period of rapid growth. The Center expanded healthcare services, developed a group mentoring program for at-risk youth, added free legal services, opened a dental clinic, and introduced social work and case management services. In 2015, the Center provided services to an average of 7,000 people per month. Despite the increase in services, the Heart Ministry Center strives to provide the same high quality, personalized care to every client who walks through the door.