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An Omaha nonprofit born out of the 1975 tornado is going stronger than ever

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Forty-six years after Omaha was rocked by a tornado the nonprofit born out of that disaster is stronger than ever.

Photos of May 6, 1975, now hang on the walls of Together Inc. “These pictures are a constant reminder what our task is at Together,” said Mike Hornacek, CEO, Together Inc. “Whether it’s a tornado, a flood, a pandemic, a personal crisis our job is to be there.”

It was a job that started on that tragic day, when the tornado, covering 2000 square blocks of Omaha took three lives, and displaced nearly 1,500 more. In response, a handful of churches and Temple Israel came together.

“A group of people from seven different faith organizations with very strong beliefs in their own doctrines came together to respond to a huge crisis,” said Hornacek. “To step up and create what we know as Together to provide shelter, food, and clothes and even more amazing is 46 years later we’re still here doing the same thing.”

But they’re doing it on a much larger scale, perfectly positioned to respond to the pandemic.

“When the community needed help the most we were there and people came to us for help,” said Hornacek. “It was pretty clear looking at the cars lined up every day and the calls we got for rental assistance.”

An unprecedented need for help with rent and food for months on end, serving four times the normal number of people through their pantry. Last year, Together bought the old 11-Worth Cafe building to make room to expand.

“As we continue to respond to the pandemic and the needs of the community we’re actually going to put up some temporary offices in here to add some staff,” said Hornacek, noting they’ll do whatever it takes to keep serving the need just as the founders did 46 years ago.

“I think they’d be really proud of what we’ve become today — how the community views us, how they support us, and how people know they can come to us when they need help and they trust us,” said Hornacek.

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