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Community leaders join forces to provide lunches for families in North Omaha

Posted at 8:18 PM, Mar 20, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — As many metro-area schools are closed for the next 6-8 weeks due to COVID-19, it has become difficult for many families to keep food on the table.

"I feel like it would just kind of give a break to some of the families who may be trying to get lunch for their kids and try to give them a sense of relief," organizer Precious McKesson said. "I know it's not going to take care of everything that's going on right now, but at least we can help them. [It's a] way to help our families."

The North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (NONA), Omaha United for Youth, the Woman to Woman Organization, BET Daycare Center, Huskerland Popcorn and Bossticated Meals joined forced with Emery's Cafe to provide 500 lunches for families in the community.

"We don't want to wait for anyone to step up and say, 'Hey, let us come help you,' we're going to do it on our own to really take care of our family," McKesson said.

It's an effort by neighbors to help take care of their own.

"We are a strong community," McKesson said. "North Omaha is very strong and I think sometimes North Omaha gets a bad wrap. We want people to know we have some great leaders and we have great people that live in these communities and we are here to support our community."

Jackee Welch co-owns Emery's Cafe with her daughter Diamond Simms.

"We are a family-oriented business, and I thought what do we all do when family is down, we pitch in, join together, [and] do what we need to do to help each other out," Welch said.

Men, women and even some kids braved the cold to hand out the lunches.

Simms says it's a blessing to be in a position to give back.

"I am very aware that most of the kids in the community are either eating reduced lunch at school ... and some of our kids if they're not eating at school they're not eating at home," Simms said. "I know parents still have to go to work, daycares are cutting back, so if we could just give out a couple lunches and help out I'm definitely willing to do that."

McKesson says hosting the give away on North 24th is special.

"It's historic and not only historic, a lot of people paved the way, and it all started down here on 24th Street," she said.

She also tells 3 News Now, "They called this the black city hall so a lot of things happened in this area and I'm just proud to be able to be a part of North Omaha and really bring this to the city."

"When the community is going through something, and we're all family that's why we're doing this," Welch said.

Simms tells 3 News Now she's working on providing meals to families on a weekly basis, until the virus calms down.