OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced nearly $60,000 in neighborhood grants in an effort to aid people and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The total amount of the grants is $57,722 and will be split up among neighborhood associations as well as organizations that provide food and other relief in the community.
Neighborhood grants are awarded each spring but were suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic, a decision Mayor Stothert has called difficult.
"I love giving out the mayor’s neighborhood grants to really get into the neighborhoods. Who knows better about the neighborhoods than the people who live there? We had to cancel it last year because of COVID. We’ve done it every year previous to that since I’ve been mayor so it’s good to give back and be able to do this again," Mayor Stothert said.
This year, priority was placed on projects and organizations that address and aid in recovery from the ongoing pandemic.
"There were so many creative, great ideas to help neighborhoods from food pantries to PPE to encouragement of vaccinations. Neighbors really got together and that’s how we do things in Omaha. We work as a team, we help each other and helping each other is how we’re going to move forward and get through this pandemic," Mayor Stothert said.
Tiffany Gamble received a grant for the community garden she spearheaded three years ago on North 27th Avenue and Fort Street. She said being able to expand the garden to address issues in the community with this grant means everything to her.
"It’s in a food desert, we don’t have a lot of community gardens in that area so I wanted to make sure we had healthy food options in our community. Food helps with various illnesses that are prevailing in that neighborhood," Gamble said. "To be able to expand means the world to me. To be able to understand that the city of Omaha recognizes the need that we need food in our area. We have a food shortage that COVID really ramped up the need with all the food pantries so it’s critical we have food, available food, healthy food in our neighborhoods so we can really heal ourselves."
LaVonya Goodwin and Dan Goodwin Jr. co-founded Global Leadership Group and also received a grant for their community garden on N 24th and Spencer Street. They teach members of their community how to grow their own fresh produce. When the COVID pandemic began, they weren't able to gather like they used to. Now, with new health directives and vaccines underway, they're able to bring volunteers and gardeners back together. The grant money they received will help to buy PPE.
"When you’re a grassroots organization, every little bit counts so a grant like this, helping with the core mission, is essential for us to continue doing what we’re doing. "We’re thankful and glad to see the mayor’s neighborhood grant reinstated for 2021," LaVonya Goodwin said.
Another round of grants will be distributed later this year.
You can read the full release below which details the amounts: