Coronavirus community resource guide

Organizations and groups offering aid in our community
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Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 12:28:01-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many people in the Metro are scrambling amid the spread of the coronavirus. To make things easier, many local organizations are stepping up to give aid. We'll keep track of resources available to people in the area here.



Assistance with rent, mortgage payments, utility payments, groceries, telehealth, phones and more

Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska has been awarded $1.9 million in Community CARES Response & Recovery funding to help those Nebraskans impacted by COVID-19.

The statewide effort will provide direct support to individuals and families in need of assistance for such things as overdue rent or mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure, utility payments, groceries, and smart phones or tablets to be used to access needed Telehealth services, and for school-aged youth to access online school platforms.

For complete details, you can find the

Free Masks in Douglas County

Free cloth masks are available Monday through Friday at the Douglas County office building at 1111 South 41st Street from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Simply go to the security desk and ask the guard for your mask.

Free Masks

The public needs face coverings or masks and the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) has some opportunities for you to get them free this weekend.

Free cloth masks are available today (Friday) at the Douglas County office building at 1111 South 41st Street. Simply go to the security desk and ask the guard for your mask.

Tomorrow (Saturday) DCHD, the Omaha Police and Fire Departments, First Responders Foundation and CHI Health are hosting a mask giveaway event in the parking lot of the Homestyle Cafe on the corner of 88th and Maple. The hours are 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Another event will take place tomorrow at OneWorld Community Health Center, 4920 South 30th Street, through a partnership with OneWorld, Verizon Wireless and DCHD. That event runs from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

On Sunday, the DCHD and our partners will hold a free-mask event from 2 -4 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate behind the Dollar Tree store off 74th and Dodge Street.

Where to Get a Free Mask

With a face-covering-mask mandate in place, the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) is helping anyone who needs a mask to be able to have one for free. Here's information on a couple of options,

Free cloth face coverings are available weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. from the security desk inside the Douglas County office building at 1111 South 41st Street. On Saturday, August 15, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and the Omaha Fire Department will join Salem Baptist Church at 3131 Lake Street for a food distribution event. They will be distributing several thousand washable cloth masks to the public from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Under the City of Omaha’s Emergency Ordinance, all individuals age five and above are to wear a face-covering over their mouth and nose while indoors at a facility that is open to the general public, including schools, unless six feet of distancing can be maintained from anyone not in the individual’s household.

Masks are not required if you are seeking government assistance; are seated at a bar or restaurant to eat or drink; work a job that prevents wearing a mask; are buying a product or service that requires the temporary removal of the face-covering; if you are asked to remove the face covering for lawful purposes of identification; if you are providing a speech, lecture or broadcast to an audience and can maintain at least six feet of distancing; or cannot wear a face covering for a medical or mental health condition or a disability.

CARES Act utility assistance funds available for Douglas County residents

Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District customers in Douglas County, struggling to pay their bills due to COVID-19 impacts, may now apply for utility assistance from a federally funded program.

In July, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $4 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for utility assistance.

Funding is administered through Dollar Energy Fund and local agencies. Customers may apply for assistance through a secure online portal at:

Those who need help through the application process may contact a partner agency or call 1.888.650.9132 to hear a list of the partnering agencies.

M.U.D. customers are encouraged to visit for more information, including eligibility guidelines, documentation requirements and additional utility assistance programs.

OPPD customers may visit for more information on CARES Act and other energy assistance programs.

Westside Schools Nutritional Assistance

We are proud to share that since we altered school plans in March due to the pandemic, Westside Nutrition Services has served more than 400,000 meals to children in need throughout District 66 and the Omaha metro area. This dedication to our community and fulfilling all needs of children will continue this fall as we again shift to our YELLOW pandemic plan to start the 20/21 school year at Westside.

On Monday, August 17, Nutrition Services will continue to distribute take-home meals for our students, but with changes in place.

  • Student meals will cost the same as they would during a traditional school day. (Click here for 20/21 Student Meal Prices at all levels [])
  • Meal benefits are available for students whose family income meets requirements. If you have not already, please complete the Free/Reduced Meals application here: []
  • Depending on what days your child physically attend school, or if they have signed up for Extended Campus Learning, you will receive meals for 2, 4 or 6 days
  • Meals can include lunch, or breakfast and lunch.
  • Meal pick-up on Monday, August 17 will take place from 7:30am-1:00pm at your child’s school
  • Upon arrival, you will provide your student’s ID number and receive requested meals for the week. Your account will then be charged accordingly.

Beginning the week of August 24, meal pick-up will take place each Wednesday as follows:

  • ALL STUDENTS: 7:30am-1:00pm at your child’s school
  • WESTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL/WHS WEST CAMPUS STUDENTS ONLY: 4:00pm-6:00pm at Westside High School
  • K THROUGH 8 STUDENTS ONLY: 4:00pm-6:00pm at Westside Middle School
  • Each elementary student will receive either 3 or 5 days worth of meals, depending on whether they are attending school 2 days a week or learning at home all 5 days each week
  • Each secondary student will receive either 4 or 5 days worth of meals, depending on whether they are attending school 1 day a week or learning at home all 5 days each week


Hotlines for those suffering mental illness during the pandemic:

  • The Nebraska Family Helpline at 1-888-866-8660.
  • The Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Behavioral health resources available for Douglas County residents during COVID-19 pandemic

There’s no doubt about it, the COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of people on edge. It’s an uncertain time, causing stress, anxiety and fear. People are worried about contracting the virus, protecting vulnerable populations, financial setbacks, schoolwork at home for students and many more. Fortunately, there are organizations ready to assist Douglas County residents and ease some of those concerns.

“There are resources out there for you, so please do not hesitate to use them,” said Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson. “We do not want people to panic. We want people to take this seriously and take care of their whole selves."

Here are free behavioral health resources available for the public:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress

Talk with a counselor, a doctor, or a clergy member anytime of the day or week. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Interpreters are available as well.

Hotline: 1-800-985-5990

Messaging: text TalkWithUs to 66746. More information:

Boys Town National Hotline

The Boys Town National Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is staffed by specially trained Boys Town counselors. This is a great resource for parents/caregivers and families.

Hotline: 1-800-448-3000. Email for speech- and hearing-impaired: More information:

The Nebraska Family Helpline

A great resource for families concerned about a youth experiencing mental or behavioral health issues. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Helpline: 1-888-866-8660 More information:


Sarpy County Sheriff's Office offers help with grocery pickup:
Starting today, people who are sick, elderly, or caretakers of this demographic in Sarpy County may call the Sarpy County Sheriff Helpline at 402-593-1593 for needs such as picking up prescriptions, groceries, or other necessities. A uniformed Sarpy County Sheriff’s Deputy will pick up and deliver medications, food, or other necessities in a marked police cruiser. This helpline may also be utilized by the general public to make a non-emergency police report via telephone.

Medical Care Networks in the region offering answers to your questions:

Methodist Health System - The Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline is staffed every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Operators can address questions about the disease, connect you to your county health department or discuss concerns about exposure.
Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at (402) 815-7425 (SICK).


List of announcements regarding changes to Sarpy County services and hours. []

Sarpy County resource page. []

Iowans experiencing any type of legal problem due to the pandemic, such as facing eviction, being denied unemployment benefits, experiencing employment issues, or being a victim of identity theft, can call 1-800-332-0419.

Jobs/Job Fairs


Humanities Nebraska accepting another round of applications for pandemic relief support

Beginning September 15 and with a deadline of October 1, Humanities Nebraska will again be accepting grant applications from Nebraska museums, historic sites and other cultural nonprofit organizations for pandemic relief funds. Funding for these grants has been provided by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment in an unprecedented special distribution designed to help support Nebraska’s arts and humanities organizations by keeping their doors open and staff employed, while investing in delivering programming in innovative ways.

Nebraska Cultural Endowment funds are distributed to their two member partners, Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council. These two organizations in turn provide funding to arts and humanities organizations across the state. Humanities Nebraska will manage distributions of $150,000.

Eligible organizations include:

  • Non-profits with 501(c) status
  • Public institutions of higher education
  • State and local government agencies
  • Federally recognized Native American tribal governments

Those who apply to Humanities Nebraska for these grants must demonstrate that a commitment to public humanities is a significant component of the organization’s overall mission. The National Endowment for the Humanities has defined the humanities as including (but not limited to) history, literature, languages, jurisprudence, philosophy, comparative religion, archaeology, ethics, the social sciences when they employ humanistic perspectives, and the history, theory, and criticism of the arts.

Eligible organizations may request up to $10,000 in unrestricted funding to assist with programs, retention of staff, and general operating support during the COVID-19 crisis. Based on the number of applications expected, awards will generally be made in the range of $1,000 to $5,000, depending on organizational budget size, but in some circumstances may be higher. This grant does not require a match or cost-share.

Organizations can view the official grant guidelines and apply online at by the October 1, 2020 deadline.

Humanities Nebraska is a private nonprofit with a mission to help Nebraskans explore what connects us and makes us human. HN is funded in part by the NEH, private donations, an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership with state dollars matching private dollars to benefit the arts and humanities in Nebraska.