Outside of being lucky enough to work at the Heart Ministry Center, I am also the parent of two small children. When my wife and I talk about the future, we plan for our children and hope that we can save enough money to help them go to college or on whatever path they choose so they can have a good start to their future and a good life.

What we never have had to do and probably never will is worry that our children will have enough to eat.

One of our regular volunteers relayed to me an experience she had recently with a mother that came into the Center looking for food for her family. The mother said she and her husband both work full time but still do not have enough food to feed their children. The mother broke down in tears.

She was thankful that she could come to the Center and get food for her family.

While I am glad the Center is there to provide her family food, it further impresses upon me, and I hope you, a couple of things.

One, the clients who come through the Center are not looking for a handout. They do not wake up in the morning thankful they will be going to a food pantry that day. Our clients are good people who just need help. Many are working poor that do not have enough money to feed their families. The average median income in North Omaha is $25,000 which is half of the statewide median income.

Second, I hope it impresses upon you the continued need to provide persons – living in or just above the poverty line – a way forward. A path toward finding a job with an income that allows them an opportunity to provide for their families, so they no longer need to come to the Center.

At the Center, we help people find a way forward so that one day they will not need us. We do that through our case management program and our Fresh Start job training and placement program.

We do what we do because sometimes people just need help. Not because they haven’t worked hard enough, but because life can be hard – much harder than anything most of us have experienced. Here at the Center, we can help lift that burden so clients have the opportunity many of you reading this have. To be able to take care of their family’s most basic needs. To have hope for a better future. And to move forward towards that future on their own.

Just like you want for your family and I want for mine.