Tag Archives: Food Bank for the Heartland

It’s Festival (and Lights!) Season

November 29, 2018 by

Subscribe to this free weekly newsletter here.

Pick of the Week—Sunday, Dec. 2: Need some good holiday hair and makeup ideas? Head to Christmas at Capitol 2018. This student-produced hair, makeup, and fashion show will have a little of everything. From Gatsby to Glamazon, you’ll be sure to find some inspiration for your next event that will make you the number-one stunner. It’s the 30th anniversary of the Christmas at Capitol Fashion Show, so trust that it will be a big one, and be sure not to miss the hair battle. See the full list of themes here, and get your tickets here.

Thursday, Nov. 29: Get in the Christmas spirit by checking out the nearly 300 gingerbread houses on display at the 33rd Annual Gingerbread Festival. During the entire month of December, you can head to the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Florence to check out these non-witch-inhabited candy homes. The Mormon Trail Center is also hosting scavenger hunts, providing live music, and playing Christmas movies. These tasty creations were made by more than 250 people, including some families, and are on display until Dec. 31. Learn more here.

Friday, Nov. 30: Ever wonder how cultures around the world celebrate this time of year? The Holiday Cultural Festival at Durham Museum is ready to show you. More than 40 local cultural organizations will display their crafts and traditional dress this Friday evening. Musicians and dancers representing different countries from around the world will perform throughout the evening, and difficult-to-find foods and gifts from far-reaching regions will be available for purchase. Check out the full list of what groups will be represented here.

Friday, Nov. 30: Dark winters need bright lights—the Lights of Aksarben celebration has that covered. It’s already in full swing, so check it out soon. This Friday’s activities include face painting, food, drinks, and free horse and carriage rides, with a heated tent to keep you warm. Christmas tunes will be playing to keep you in the mood. This year, the folks at Aksarben are supporting the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots Program, so be sure to bring a toy for a child in need. Can’t make it this Friday? Put next week’s “Cocoa with a Cop” event in your calendar now. You can learn about all their upcoming holiday events here.

Sunday, Dec. 2: Experience more free, family fun at the KETV Family Festival, part of the series of events comprising the annual Holiday Lights Festival. You can help “Shine the Light on Hunger” by donating nonperishable foods and household goods to be distributed to families in need through Food Bank for the Heartland. Attendees will be able to visit attractions and special programs taking place at a number of downtown locations, thanks to free heated trolley service provided by Ollie the Trolley, connecting the sites. Find out what’s in store for the afternoon here.

Food, Festivals, Fun, and Falconwood

May 31, 2018 by

Pick of the Week—Friday, June 1-3: It’s a foodie’s dream weekend. Taste of Omaha is back at the Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing and it’s as good as you remember. Whether you’re craving ice cream, sweet corn, or sushi, you’ll find it this weekend on the river. Mix in some music, fun, and fireworks, and it’s a guaranteed good time for everyone. Check out all the ingredients here.

Thursday, May 31: Let the eating begin tonight at Foodstock 2 in Bellevue. Forget all the dinner prep and head down to B-Town to feast on yummy treats from over 20 food trucks. There will be other vendors onsite, and a food drive for the Bellevue Food Pantry. Bonus points for this one, as it’s also a free, zero waste event. Don’t forget to bring your donations (five items or more gets you a raffle ticket). Find out more here.

Saturday, June 2: Wanna get weird this weekend? Then head to Omaha Oddities & Art Expo at Omaha Comfort Inn & Suites. With over 45 unique vendors, there will be a lot to explore. Special guests and performances will also be on hand, including a magician, a mentalist, and fire shows. Not convinced? You also have a chance to help support the Food Bank for the Heartland by bringing in a non-perishable food donation (gets you a dollar discount) or by participating in the 50/50 raffle for the Siena Francis House. Catch all the available oddities here.

Saturday, June 2: Food isn’t the only thing on the menu this weekend. Benson Beer Fest 2018 is bringing the brews, with over 75 of your favorite breweries from around the area. Your entrance fee will include a commemorative glass and, of course, a pour from each of the breweries. Now that’s a lot of beer, so a special price for designated drivers is an option. Pore over more information here and get your tix here.

Saturday, June 2: Castlepalooza! is on! This free, community festival offers live, local music, games, face painting, yoga, and of course, bubbles. Ride your bike, see some critters, and learn about solar power while enjoying the music of Clarence Tilton, Colin Michael Roberts, and Travelling Mercies. Did we mention there will be food and beer available? Bike on down to Joslyn Castle, meet some new people, learn some stuff, and enjoy the atmosphere, all for free. Start learning more here.

Sunday, June 3: Need a relaxing way to wind down and take a break from all that eating and drinking? Head to Falconwood Park (formerly Sokol Park) in Bellevue to watch The Incredibles from the comfort of your own car. The sequel hits theaters in a couple weeks, so refresh your memory (or see it for the first time) beforehand. But don’t limit yourself to just one drive-in movie this week. You can also catch a showing of Black Panther on Thursday, June 7. For the full rundown of upcoming movies at the park, click here.

Hungry for Answers

October 12, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

How will the relocation of ConAgra Foods’ headquarters affect local philanthropy?

Short answer: No one knows for sure. What is certain is that ConAgra Foods will continue its charity work in the Omaha area, and it will persist in fighting hunger (the company’s signature philanthropic cause).

The relocation of the headquarters of the Fortune 500 company—founded in 1919 as Nebraska Consolidated Mills—is well known. But Chris Kircher, vice president of corporate affairs and president of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, says many people have got it wrong about how many jobs will be lost.

“ConAgra will retain a large presence in Nebraska,” says Kircher. “Only 300 jobs are moving to Chicago. Our presence in this area is about 2,100, still three times the size of the Chicago operation.”

With 1,200 employees on its riverfront campus, Omaha remains ConAgra’s largest office location. This is good news for the nonprofit groups that count on ConAgra employees for their history of generous volunteer assistance.

ConAgra1ConAgra’s downsizing is occurring at an increasingly competitive time for the food industry. More competition and lower revenue streams have driven change within the company. The corporate transformation has real implications for ConAgra’s philanthropic footprint.

“We are in the process of divesting and spinning off businesses. We announced (it) early on as part of the transformation efforts selling our private brand label,” says Kircher.

“When you are a smaller company, that’s going to affect every functional area, including the foundation.”

Annual giving has been in the area of $10 million, he notes. A good portion of that is local. Add to that in-kind donations.

“The question is ‘will that $10 million still be available?’” says Kircher. “It’s safe to assume we’ll continue to be engaged in hunger locally and continue to support the Food Bank for the Heartland in a big way.”

People also misconceive how active ConAgra has been in Chicago for some time. “About three-fourths of our retail food business has been headquartered in Chicago before we announced these changes. Only one-fourth of the retail food business was in Omaha.

“Management is moving that quarter of the retail food business up to the three-fourths of business that was based in Chicago already. After we get done with investiture and spin-off, that will be our biggest business. A lot of functional areas will still be in Omaha.”

ConAgra is not suddenly leaving their partner nonprofit organizations without support. Many local groups received what Kircher calls “an exit grant.”

“We have explained we aren’t going to have the same kinds of resources as in the past.”

But if the cause has to do with hunger—especially child hunger—ConAgra will look for a way to help.

“We will continue to support the Food Bank for the Heartland and hunger-focused initiatives,” says Kircher. “It reflects one of the primary philanthropic avenues we’ve had a long time and will continue to have.”

Visit conagrafoods.com/our-commitment for more information. B2B

The Big Give

September 6, 2016 by
Illustration by Kristen Hoffman

Omahans give. That is no secret. Just consider the amount generated by the Omaha Community Foundation’s fourth annual Omaha Gives campaign. The 24-hour funding drive amassed almost $9 million, a new record.

In each September/October issue, Omaha Magazine helps our readers determine where to spend their charitable donations through a special advertorial called The Big Give. Inside this section, you’ll find information on a variety of charities, including their mission statements, wish lists, event dates, and more. Click here to view the entire Big Give.

This year, The Big Give spotlights:

100 Black Men of Omaha


The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter

American Red Cross

Assistance League of Omaha

Autism Action Partnership

Ballet Nebraska

CASA for Douglas County

Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha

Completely Kids


Diabetes Education Center of the Midlands

Empowerment Network

Film Streams, Inc.

Food Bank for the Heartland

Gesu Housing, Inc.

Global Partners in Hope

Green Omaha Coalition

Heartland Family Service

The Hope Center for Kids

ICARE Youth Services, Inc.

The Jewish Federation of Omaha

The Kim Foundation

Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska

Nebraska Children’s Home Society

Nebraska Humane Society

The Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition

Ollie Webb Center, Inc.

Omaha Against Hunger

Omaha Children’s Museum

Omaha Home for Boys

Omaha Public Library Foundation

Open Door Mission

Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

Phoenix Academy

Project Harmony

Rejuvenating Women

Release Ministries, Inc.

The Salvation Army

Santa Monica House

Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter


United Way of the Midlands

Youth Emergency Services