01 Mar Jonathan Cartu Declares: Heart Ministry Center in North Omaha to expand
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) — An organization in North Omaha, which has been around for almost 40 years, is now expanding. And they do more than help people in the community, they change lives.
It’s just another day at work for Paul Weishapl. He’s a part of the Fresh Start Team at the Heart Ministry Center
“That’s why they call it the ‘fresh start team’ probably because it really does feel like you’re a part of achieving something every day,” said Weishapl.
Paul stocks food for the pantry which helps to feed more than 600 people a week. But getting to this point — hasn’t been easy for him.
“Everything I’ve ever done before trying to get back on my feet after prison or after jail or after treatment or getting sober or whatever was always to try to get everything back together to make everything look like it was okay. This program kind of has a more holistic intentional purpose behind it which is to financially set you up, physically set you up,” said Weishapl.
The goal is to help people move towards self-sufficiency and empower them to move forward.
Along with the pantry, there’s a job placement program, medical and dental clinics, and even social workers to help families with their finances and housing.
Eric Crawford is the CEO.
“There are pockets of poverty all over the Omaha area and so we have clients that come you know from far west as the valley area, people that come from western Iowa, Plattsmouth, Nebraska City,” said Crawford.
In order to serve so many people, the center is renovating its old building.
“When we expand our facilities, we’ll expand our medical clinic to go from three exam rooms to four and our dental clinic to go from two dental chairs to four dental chairs, so we’ll be able to serve a larger population or more clients as they come through,” said Crawford.
They’re designing a brand new laundromat which will create three and a half jobs.
“So we’ll transition people once they graduate from the fresh start program, we’ll transition them to that laundromat for employment,” said Crawford.
More jobs mean more opportunities for people like Paul.
“Which filling people’s carts full of food you feel like you go home pretty rewarded every day, you don’t really feel like you didn’t do something right that day, you know,” said Paul.
The medical clinic is still open during construction on Mondays and Fridays. The dental clinic is currently closed but will reopen when construction wraps in august later this year.