Organization Helps People Make Ends Meet

As the morning sun begins to break the Omaha sky, Creighton students drag themselves out of bed and begin their morning routines. Get a cup of coffee, grab a bowl of cereal and head out the door for another routine day of classes. But what most students fail to realize is what is going on right down the street from campus. Less than a block away from Morrison Stadium, some morning routines are quite different.

Rather than wake up with the thought of papers and exams in their minds, some people wake up with the problem of how to feed their families plaguing their every thought. Standing outside of 1616 Cass St., some arrive over thirty minutes to a couple of hours early before the doors open at 9 a.m. to wait in line for food and other services offered at Together, Inc. Monday through Friday. Wrapping around the side of the building into the dirt, pot-holed parking lot, the lines can contain as many as 75 people, all waiting outside for the same need— the basic necessities of life.

A nonprofit organization, Together, Inc. is the source for the line of people that can be seen standing outside, anxiously awaiting the unlocking of the single swinging door into the building. The people who come through the door range from the homeless to the near-homeless to those who have lost a job to those who just can’t make ends meet. Helping all of these people and even those who face some kind of unexpected crisis, Together, Inc., in recent months, has seen an increase in the number of people who come for help. Those who work there don’t expect the number to decrease any time soon.

More and more people are struggling to make ends meet as the price of food, fuel, rent and utilities continue to rise while wages are staying the same and jobs are being lost.

Since July, Erin Stoll, director of development at Together, Inc. has seen an increase of 200 people per month walk in the front door. “The economy is affecting us because people are driven to needing assistance and the number has not gone down. I think it will increase in the months ahead.”

With the economy in the shape it’s in right now, she said, the organization sees men, women and children from all walks of life and income levels.

“When you are right on the edge of losing your job… or your home, this economy pushes these people right over the edge,” Stoll said.

Like everyone, Together, Inc. is feeling the economic pinch in more ways than one. A pantry that is bare. Workers being stretched thin due to the increase of work. Individual donors feeling the tightening of their belts.

But even with those struggles, Stoll said, “Thank goodness we are here.”

“It is difficult to listen to the news and it’s easy to get sucked into the negativity of it all, but there are things people can do and Together, Inc. is like the shining light at the end of the tunnel, because there are places people can go in our community,” Stoll said.

Even with the economic strain, Michelle Moyes-Dill, executive director of Together, Inc. said recently she has noticed an increase in giving.

“More people are coming through our doors looking for assistance, but we’ve also seen more people in the community understanding that this might happen and they also have supported us. When we do a food drive, people get it, more than they might have last year,” Moyes said.

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