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Giving Tuesday raises $3.1 million

Giving Tuesday raises $3.1 million

Love goes to homeless shelters, food banks during pandemic; recipients 'over the moon'

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Omaha was generous on Giving Tuesday. The Notre Dame Sisters are seeing that firsthand.

Donors purchased more than 190 items valued at $9,000 from the sisters' Amazon Wish List during their Giving Tuesday drive, and that bounty is now showing up at their North Omaha convent, said Marjorie Maas, executive director of Share Omaha.

In all, Omaha-area residents, businesses and organizations donated $3.1 million to nonprofits here and elsewhere, almost doubling last year's $1.6 million total.

"We are over the moon," said Maas, whose group is the local coordinator of the day devoted to acts of kindness around the world.

For the retired sisters, it's a godsend, Maas said. Their wish list includes some fairly costly items that older people need every day.

The average donation on Giving Tuesday was $114, and more than 24,000 donations were made. People who were first time donors to their selected nonprofits accounted for 32%of those who gave.

Maas said she hadn't yet run the statistics on which nonprofits received the most love.

But, she said, "we know that (homeless) shelters and the Food Bank for the Heartland got a lot of support," which wasn't surprising amid a pandemic.

The sisters were not the only beneficiaries of wish list items. Donors bought almost 29,000 items on nonprofit lists, including hygiene products and winter clothing.

The Life House, for instance, received about 32,000 diapers, which will clothe 533 babies.

Nonprofits also donated to other nonprofits. The Eastern Nebraska Medical Reserve Corps gave more than 200 public health bags and almost 5,000 facemasks to various nonprofits.

Volunteering is also encouraged on Giving Tuesday; 140 people made a new volunteer commitment to a nonprofit, and 397 people volunteered that day.

Thirteen of them were from Mode Shift Omaha, a transportation advocacy group. Six cleaned 20Metro bus stops, and seven audited bicycle Fix It stations across the city.

Donors gave from the heart and in the middle of need. Addie Gengen bach of City Sprouts told one heartwarming story.

"One donor, who was a recipient of produce from our farm food stand over the summer, was able to donate $5 just to say thanks," she said. "I felt a lot of gratitude over this gesture."

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