Perhaps more than any other recent initiative, the Minne Lusa House helped foster a neighborhood culture of togetherness. Minne Lusa House was a brainchild of longtime residents, Beth and Sharon, who thought we should have a house in the neighborhood where people could gather on a regular basis. They bought a HUD house that was in extremely poor condition in August of 2010. They lovingly restored the Arts and Crafts era bungalow, transforming it into a beautiful home that is now a pride of the neighborhood. For nearly 10 years, Minne Lusa House took on the role of a community center: Offering canning lessons and promoting an ideal of sustainable living, hosting an annual arts and crafts fair, hosting a weekly coffee social, providing a place for neighborhood meetings and event planning, and serving as a neighborhood safe place where people could come if they needed help.
The original Minne Lusa House, pictured here, now serves as a private residence. However, the idea of Minne Lusa House lives on as the neighborhood's monthly traveling coffee social which we call Second Saturday. This allows more people in the community to take on the role of Minne Lusa House by hosting area neighbors in their own homes. The location changes every month, so check our Second Saturday page or join the conversation on the Minne Lusa House Facebook group page for updates. This is an opportunity to meet people and keep up on what's happening in the neighborhood. You don't have to be a member of the neighborhood association to participate. Just show up and have a good time. Hope to see you there!
Schools are at the heart of our neighborhood, and volunteers come together in a number of ways to help. Trinity-North Lutheran Church is involved at both Minne Lusa and Miller Park Elementary schools, mentoring students in reading through their "Trinity Reads" program. Neighbors have formed an education committee to support Minne Lusa Elementary. Some volunteers bake goodies and craft gifts to encourage teachers. Some meet on Friday mornings to greet kids as they come in for the start of the school day. Some help in the classroom through the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) volunteer program. For information, contact Fred or Carol Richart. Some neighbors also mentor through Omaha's Partnership4Kids program. In-school volunteers must apply and be approved through OPS.
Food insecurity is a reality faced by too many families in our neighborhood. Members of our community are helping in a number of ways. Trinity-North Lutheran Church, located across from Miller Park on the corner of 30th and Redick, operates its supplemental “Trinity Feeds” food pantry. According to their website, they are open to the public every 3rd Saturday of the month from 11 am until 1 pm. Families in need can visit during those hours, even if they have already visited other pantries that month. There are also two Little Free Pantry locations in the neighborhood. One is next to Mount Olive Lutheran Church, located at 28th and Weber. The other is located near the corner of Florence Blvd and Newport. The idea behind the Little Free Pantry is that people in need can have 24/7 access to food without having to show proof of need. They are also 24/7 drop-off locations for food donations. The motto is “Take what you need. Leave what you can.” Any of these are opportunities to give back to the community in a way which helps combat food insecurity.