OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Monday, November 16 kicks off Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and this year, because of the pandemic, it means a little more.
"It sheds light on the on the issue of hunger and homelessness and not just because it’s an annual event but especially this year because of the pandemic and shedding light on the issues that are related to hunger and homelessness, but even the impact that we have seen due to the pandemic," Candace Gregory, CEO of Open Door Mission said.
Gregory said food insecurity has risen and there has been a 43% increase in homeless prevention resources in our community for people who have been impacted by the pandemic. She said many people are are asking for help who have never reached out before.
"I can tell you that we’re seeing new faces people that we’ve never seen before are reaching out for assistance," Gregory said. "We have noticed that due to the food insecurity issues that we are seeing more and more individuals that are elderly and those with medical conditions that really do need a prepared meal."
This year, they're trying to keep everyone safe during the pandemic while also getting volunteers during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
"It’s a little bit different because usually we have big events for large numbers of volunteers to come and we also do kind of a just come as you are, come when you can, and we can’t do all of that because of the pandemic. We are really limited," Gregory said.
She said Open Door Mission hopes that this year, awareness week educates people and they find it in their hearts to volunteer all year round and not just during holiday season.
"We hope that when people lean more about hunger and homelessness in our community that it inspires them to join our team by volunteering two hours a month every month. Because that’s one day out of 365 that yo donated to those in the community that are in need when you break it down, it’s not so overwhelming," Gregory said.
If you can't make it to the campus to volunteer in person due to COVID limitations, Gregory said there are ways to volunteer from your home, workplace or school. To find more volunteer opportunities visit opendoormission.org.