Lincoln Mayor, local nonprofits talk holiday giving

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird holds a press conference concerning local nonprofits’ need for community support.

She will be joined by several nonprofit representatives to promote holiday giving today at 10 a.m.

This week, Lincoln was named the eighth ‘Most Carrying City in America’ on

Mayor Gaylor Baird said it “looked at 39 indicators, including our care of those experiencing homelessness, hours of volunteerism, and donations to charities and nonprofits. This ranking confirms what we already know to be true. We live in a kind and compassionate community that seeks to take care of each other, earning a reputation for happiness and kindness is not something that happens overnight.”

One example of this compassion is shown through a nonprofit focused on frontline workers.

The LNK Heroes campaign is looking to raise $25,000 to purchase gift cards from local businesses for healthcare workers, teachers, and first responders.

LNK Heroes founder and local pediatrician commented, “in about 10 days, we’ve raised over $10,000, we’ve had over 300 nominations to receive a meal, over 100 to receive flowers. And it’s been so inspiring to see the community outreach and support.”

However, many local nonprofits are overwhelmed by the increased demand they are facing, caused by the pandemic.

John Mabrey, Director of Development with The Food Bank of Lincoln said they have seen “a 20% increase in need due to the pandemic,” averaging about 400 families at each distribution site.

Mabrey says the Food Bank has been extremely grateful for community food drives, but what they need right now is monetary donations.

“Right now we need dollars because we have to buy such large quantities of food to meet the need,” explained Mabrey.

Chris Funk, Executive Director of The Center for People in Need said her organization is facing similar struggles.

“We have increased our numbers- these are unduplicated families- by 156%,” said Funk. “So in November we saw 3,473 unique families that came through food, once a week, maybe averaging three times a month.”

Funk says what her organization needs right now is diapers and food donations.

Lastly, the Outreach Representative with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank. Kari Lundeen shared how they were fairing.

“The blood supply has had a dangerously low inventory for several months, if not, during this entire pandemic.”

Lundeen said the Blood Bank traditionally collects almost half of their supply through blood drives. But, most blood drives have been canceled or scaled-down because of COVID-19.

“For an example, last December, we had 49 blood drives in the month, and this December we have eight,” said Lundeen. “So that paints a pretty large picture of the dramatic decrease that we’ve seen in blood donations.”

With a vaccine now available, our community is one step closer to the end of this pandemic. But, its lasting effects weigh on Nebraska families. Funk confirmed, “it’s a crisis for many many families in Lincoln.”

If you would like to lend a hand to the local nonprofits listed, visit there websites at,, and

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