Project Wee Care, a community program of The Millard Business Community Foundation, is run solely by volunteers to help families in our community - you will know that ALL your donation goes, to help someone in Omaha. Since Project Wee Care was established in 2006, our volunteers have touched the lives of over 7,400 people in need of food and warm clothing. At the same time we provide a volunteer program that offers area youth the opportunity to help their neighbors.
There is a community need that we did not fully comprehend when the idea to start this program was born. After all, here we are in Millard. The perception is that this part of Omaha does not have these types of needs. And yet, as story after story unfolds each year, we find there is definitely a need that is not being fully addressed in this part of Omaha because of this. The school counselors are trying to help these families when they lose a job, someone gets ill, the parents divorce, illegal drugs become involved, or whatever the situation is with few programs to offer in this part of Omaha.
Through Project Wee Care we target families at risk for food insecurity. We work with area school counselors and staff plus the MBA Members to nominate families for our program. During the 2015 Holiday program, we helped 284 families (approximately 1,163 total school aged and younger children plus their parents and older siblings) with needed food. In total, we have touched the lives of over 7,400 people with basic needs since Project Wee Care was established in 2006.
Many times people comment that they didn't realize that we had such a need in Millard, but we have found that the Need is everywhere. Our emphasis is directed towards families with children that may have lost jobs, are dealing with illness, suffered the loss of a family member, displaced families due to abuse, or families just down on their luck through unforeseen circumstances. Imagine being a 6 year old and having no bed to sleep in...or being grateful for the food PWC provided you family because you have not been able to eat for the last 2 days...or being 11 years old with cancer and your mom lost her job because she took off too much time off to be with you at the hospital. These are all Millard area families PWC has helped in the past.
The kids in the Assets Builders group at do things as small fund raisers all year long so they can adopt children through Project Wee Care (PWC) each year. We take a group of kids involved in our Asset Builders group to do the shopping for our adopted children. Last year one little guy was so excited to get to shop for someone else, as he had never been able to do that before. This is because his family is one that is normally a family in need.
The little guy was telling the other kids in the group how great it was at PWC and about Santa, the presents, etc. The other kids started asking how he knew all about PWC. I had to help him out, as he didn't realize that by sharing his experiences about PWC with the other kids, they would figure out that he was one of the kids PWC helps each year.
This young man has learned lessons that will carry through his entire life, through his experiences with PWC. Lisa Kallman, Cody Elementary
What a successful program you have put together! I was so amazed and impressed with the organization of the event on Distribution Saturday! I wanted to pass along to you that my husband was helping with the delivery to the cars. He said he witnessed many parents crying as they watched their car being loaded up. One particular family had 8 children. The mom had to have the older son drive the van home because she was so overwhelmed and crying that she couldn't drive home. The blessings you have given these families is unspeakable….
Jill Anderson, MPS Social Worker
"I cannot say thank you enough to Project Wee Care!! Not only does this wonderful organization provide holiday assistance of gifts and groceries to our Millard families, they also provide our students, staff and community members the chance to be actively involved in making wishes come true!!
It has been my honor to work with Project Wee Care since 2006 and to see the program work to make the Holidays brighter for those in need in our Millard Community. Thank you!" Sarah M. Weidner, Cody Elementary School
When I think of Project Wee Care helping all the families at Christmas I am overwhelmed! I have worked with Project Wee Care for the last 6 years to refer families to PWC. Each year the organization has been able to meet our referral needs. Including me calling last minute one year to add a family to the list that was originally not referred. The family was not turned away. Some comments I have heard from families who I have referred include:
• We would not have had a Christmas if it wasn't for Project Wee Care
• The day we went to pick up our gifts was amazing. I felt so much care and concern from the volunteers. They made me feel comfortable as I accepted their help and made it a family friendly day. It was wonderful.
Project Wee Care's coordination with so many schools (as sponsors) also helps us to teach our students about helping others. JeAnna Karloff, Holling Heights
THANK YOU'S AND STORIES FROM SOME OF THE FAMILIES WE HAVE HELPED:
Some stories of families we have helped include:
1. Mother & two daughters were displaced from their home when the mom was misdiagnosed with breast cancer. When this family was sent to us for help, they had lost their home, car, and mom's job because of the medical issues. They were sleeping on the basement floor of a friend's home. They had no beds, only pillows and blankets. Can you imagine having a double mastectomy, going home from the hospital to recover and having to sleep on a concrete floor? PWC provided new beds, bedding, food, clothing, and personal hygiene items for this family. In return we received hugs, smiles, tears, and helped a family who is now doing better. Mom is still dealing with cancer, but they are at least in a better place.
2. We helped a family replace their broken washing machine, and provided needed clothing and food. The family sent us this thank you note:
"Dear Millard Business Association,
We want to thank you for the wonderful philanthropic things you are involved in at Christmas time. We were so lucky to be chosen by you for our adopt-a-family. Due to my chronic illness we have lost almost everything including our home two months ago. All of these negative changes have had such an impact on my children and it makes me feel so guilty. The afternoon the children came home after receiving the gifts, groceries, and goodies provided by American National Bank were the happiest I had seen them in over six months. Thank you again for sponsoring such a wonderful program. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."
3. Each year we have had a family that we helped the previous year call to ask if they can volunteer their time to PWC to help other families now that they are "on their feet".
4. One experience one of the volunteers shared when he came inside after helping to load the family's items into their car with tears in his eyes, something you would not expect from Kenny. After he collected himself, he shared with us what had happened. "The lady thanked me for all the stuff we had given them. I told her thank you, but that is what we are here for, to help you out. She went on to say, you don't understand how much we needed this food. I haven't been able to feed my family for the past three days, and we just didn't know what to do or where to turn." At that point all Kenny could do was work to keep back the tears long enough to wish her a Merry Christmas.
You can tell from these stories that there is certainly a need for Project Wee Care in our community.