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How you can help and get help during the coronavirus pandemic

How you can help and get help during the coronavirus pandemic

A UNMC child psychiatrist talks about what parents can do to help their children and themselves during these challenging times.

Here is a list of ways you can help and ways you can find help and resources during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We’re also highlighting good deeds throughout our readership area. Send your information to

Catholic Charities is providing a number of services:

  • Food pantries remain open, but now will provide prepackaged food boxes at the door. Deliveries to homebound people will continue, and additional clients can be taken on if necessary.
  • The Domestic Violence Shelter is still taking residents. Screening and protocols are in place to identify coronavirus risks.
  • Staffers are checking in with seniors by phone. The onsite senior program has been suspended.
  • Immigration legal services and the microbusiness program are being provided by phone, Skype and Zoom whenever possible.
  • A list of mental health tips for coping with social distancing, fear about the disease and other issues is posted on the agency’s website.

The agency also is taking monetary donations. Visit or call 402-554-0520 for assistance or to donate.

United Way of the Midlands established a Housing Stability Fund in partnership with the Omaha Community Foundation and its partners. If your work status has been directly affected by coronavirus, you can call the 211 helpline for mortgage or rent assistance. To donate, go to On its website, United Way also has a list of coronavirus questions with links to various state and national health organizations.

SHARE Omaha has put together a list of the needs of nonprofits during the pandemic. Visit

Do Space is offering free digital services while it is closed to public gatherings. Webinars, blogs and videos for all ages are posted on the web. Visit or Do Space Omaha on Facebook.

The Omaha Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 Response Fund with other local foundations. The first phase of the effort will be a rapid response to immediate needs. The foundation will adapt its approach as it learns more about local needs and the changing nature of the pandemic. Donate at

Omaha-based Salvation Army Western Division has established a fund dedicated to the division’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Donations may be made at or via check, payable to the Salvation Army Western Division, COVID-19 Relief Fund, 10755 Burt St., Omaha NE 68114.

The City of Lincoln launched a COVID-19 Response Fund with business partners and philanthropic organizations. The goal is to help nonprofits that serve vulnerable people in the community. The Lincoln Community Foundation is hosting the fund. You can contribute at

The World-Herald Goodfellows Emergency Assistance Program works with six local nonprofit agencies to give people one-time emergency help with housing and utility costs. For more information on the program, go to or call 402-444-1388. Because The World-Herald covers all administrative costs, 100% of your donation to Goodfellows goes directly to those in need. Donate here.

Food Bank for the Heartland has partnered with Westside Nutritional Services, the Omaha-Council Bluffs Salvation Army, Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue, local school districts and other nonprofit organizations to launch the Mobile BackPack program. This program is targeting children who receive free and reduced lunch and typically benefit from BackPacks at school. Beginning March 20, free meal bags will be delivered from food trucks to 13 different sites across the Omaha metro and Council Bluffs. Each bag will contain five breakfasts and five lunches, including milk and fresh produce. Deliveries will be made to each site weekly, in the afternoon or evening, through a drive-up distribution. Find Mobile BackPack sites and times at

Metropolitan Utilities District: To ensure customers have access to life-essential services, MUD has updated its policy regarding disconnections for non-payment. Until further notice, MUD will not disconnect gas or water due to non-payment. "The decision to include gas to this policy comes as we enter an unprecedented time in our utility’s history," MUD said on its website. Customer service representatives, MUD said, will work to help customers through financial hardships that may occur as a result of COVID-19. MUD said it will also work with customers on payment plans. Call Customer Service at 402-554-6666 or toll-free, 800-732-5864.

Omaha Public Power District: OPPD announced online that it will suspend all disconnections for non-payment until April 30. "At that time, we will re-evaluate the moratorium." OPPD's walk-in customer service offices are closed  until further notice. For customers who pay their utility bills at OPPD facilities or at Moneygram locations, alternative payment methods are advised to limit person-to-person contact. Customers may pay bills online, via the OPPDConnect app, by check or cashiers check to OPPD, or by leaving cash payment in the drop box located at Energy Plaza. Customers also may call  402-536-4131 in the Omaha metropolitan area, or 1-877-536-4131 outside of the metro area.

Dial Senior Living is coordinating Prokect Dial Mile, a card shower for seniors. If you send a store-bought or handmade greeting card, no larger than 8-by-10 inches, to its corporate office, they will send it on to residents in their senior living communities. The address is Dial Senior Living, Attention Alie Hrabe, 11506 Nicholas St., Suite 205, Omaha 68154..

Chabad of Nebraska is continuing some activities although its synagogue is closed. Virtual classes and lectures are being conducted. Chabad is sending care packages to seniors and those who are in self-isolation or quarantine. It also will be offering Seder to Go Passover kits. For more information, email Rabbi Mendel Katzman at

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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