There are many homeless and near-homeless in Nebraska’s largest city that rely on the Salvation Army’s Winter Night Watch program for a hot meal. Divisional Disaster Director J.J. Kuzma says starting tonight, two of their canteens will be packed with food and make five stops in areas where the homeless gather in Omaha.
Kuzma says that means men, women and children will be standing in line waiting for the canteen to arrive. Inside there are also coats, hats, gloves, scarves and stockings that are available to those in need. While the program is designed to meet the physical needs of people, they also offer individuals counseling and the opportunity to move off the street. He says about 200 volunteers make the program possible and many have been with the Winter Night Watch for ten years or more.
Kuzma says at the beginning of the month they serve about 200 meals each night. That number jumps to 450 a night at the end of the month. He says that is typically when people run out of food stamps and are in most need of food. The program runs Monday through Friday through the end of February. Last year they served more than 14,500 meals and distributed 9,000 coats, hats, gloves and scarves.