More than 80 OPPD employees and family members joined another 70 volunteers and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha crews to revitalize and beautify a block in North Omaha on Saturday, May 18.
The volunteers were all there for Habitat’s “Rock the Block” event, held annually. They started the day at 8 a.m. with breakfast, instructions, and house assignments and then got to work.
In addition to the block of Mary Street between 24th and 25th avenues in the Minne Lusa neighborhood, volunteers also worked on landscaping, fence repair, and brush and debris removal at the nearby Viking Ship community center.
Volunteers were led by the Habitat Omaha crew leaders as well as eight OPPD project leads. Habitat Omaha selected the area to revitalize and OPPD project leads joined them for several pre-meetings to define the scope of work and identify resource needs for the event. Doing so allowed for a more cohesive, organized collaboration, organizers said.
Volunteer Services Manager for Habitat Omaha, Jenny Schroeder, said, “the OPPD volunteers were some of the best I’ve worked with. They were all so hard working and willing to do whatever was needed.”
“I’m happy to supply the music for the day,” said Mary Street resident and DJ, Carlos Rodriguez. “Just as long as no asks me to turn it down.”
Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, hula-hoops, and more were available for any kids in the neighborhood – and some adults – to enjoy.
The day ended after the last flowers were planted, the last nail pounded into a resident’s new carport and the remains of mulch were swept from the street. Crews loaded supplies and tools into Habitat Omaha’s trucks and volunteers and neighbors finally took a break to sit and enjoy lunch catered by Big Mama’s Kitchen.
By 2 p.m., about 20 homeowners could look upon their residences with increased pride – thanks to their own hard work, and that of the Habitat Omaha crew and volunteers.
“That event totally amazed me,” said John Kresnik, a Human Capital Service Center Specialist at OPPD. “Kudos for bringing everyone together to serve the community like that. I will certainly participate in more events in the future.”
Along with OPPD, other volunteers included the Downtown Rotary, First National Bank, Millard Lumber and multiple churches and other organizations.