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Family, nature nook give Goodfellows donor reasons to be thankful
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Family, nature nook give Goodfellows donor reasons to be thankful

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Check out our photos of the Goodfellows Fund through the years.

Omahan Cindy Humphreys has a thankful spirit.

She said she’s grateful for many things in her life: a helpful and happy family; her first grandchild, a boy born in August; and her nature nook, a special area she created in the front yard of her Dundee home.

“It’s so much fun for kids, but not just for them,” she said. “Adults come by and examine things and start a conversation. I’m really thankful for that.”

Those blessings led her to present a gift of her own: a donation to The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity, given with her husband, Brooks, “on behalf of thankfulness.”

Goodfellows has been helping area residents in need for more than 120 years. It provides one-time aid to help people in crisis pay rent or utility bills. It gives coats, gloves and clothing to kids. And it distributes holiday meal vouchers.

That resonates with Humphreys. She said she has donated “for many, many years” to the charity, now administered in a partnership with the United Way of the Midlands, because she likes the variety of services it offers.

“They seem to do the research and find out where the need is,” she said.

Humphreys’ generous spirit extends to her sharing the nature nook. When her family had to cut down a pine tree that she loved, she asked the tree surgeons to save the stump, and she built the nook from that, she said.

Nature 1

Cindy Humphreys created a nature nook in her front yard at 5628 Jackson St. in Dundee. It includes a nature obstacle course, seen here. 

It features fun and educational activities for kids and a nature obstacle course on which people can “jump over a canyon” or look up to the sun, among other elements.

People stop at the nook all the time, Humphreys said.

“I’ll be sitting on my deck, and they won’t even know I’m there, and I can hear the joy it brings families.”

Some take pictures, then ask if she would care if they set up a similar area at home.

“I say ‘Of course, let’s have this everywhere,’” she said.

She loves sharing her passion for nature, cultivated when she was a young girl growing up in rural Eagle Grove, Iowa.

It’s especially fun to get kids interested in nature books and crafts, in pollinators and in not being afraid of bugs.

And, she said, “in just being curious. I hope I never lose my curiosity.”

With her daughter, she had a nature nook booth for a couple of years at the Gifford Park Farmers Market.

The hours she spends in her perennials garden are her quiet time, she said. She’s also a member of the Altrusa Club, which works with kids, advocates literacy and literature and places volunteers at the Stephen Center.

As a nurse in a doctor’s office, she sees women who are struggling. That’s one reason she is a fan of Goodfellows.

“My heart goes out to them,” she said of harried moms. “I know how hard it is to be a mother and have small children and juggling home life and work life. If they can get a little support, I’m all for it.”


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