Van donated to help transport hundreds of Omaha kids for after-school programs

A van donation helps a local charity
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Leaders at Abide Omaha are excited because they know how much keys to a free van could ignite change in the community.

“We know when we work with families, we know it is very difficult for families to have transportation in North Omaha,” said Joey McKernan, the executive director of Abide Omaha. “The nonprofit works to strengthen the community and provide resources to families.

And Mark Zach, founder of Mobility for Humanity, knows that too. For over a decade, Zach has been connecting handicap-accessible vans to families in need.

“We have donated approximately 100 vehicles,” said Zach. “It’s just something we do to help the community.”

While Mobility for Humanity focuses on transportation for people who are disabled, they know their mission can extend to young kids in need of rides. Abide can help with that.

“Public transportation just doesn’t work, especially for people with disabilities or low income,” said Zach.

“To invest in them, we got to get them to the programs. And so using a tool like a van is a great asset to get them there,” said McKernan.

Abide serves 600 to 800 kids a month, 1800 families, particularly in North Omaha. This new vehicle will help transport those kids from their homes to their after-school programs.

“Basketball practice, after-school programs, dance. We have a dance company here on our campus, so we could be helping bring kids to that too,” said McKernan. He thinks the dance students that need rides will be the new van’s first stop.”

The car was donated by a senior living nonprofit in Omaha called Vetter Health Services. Mobility for Humanity also takes donations and buys used cars to repair and give away.

The Dodge minivan has less than 70,000 miles on it. It was refurbished, repaired, and repainted. Zach said a car like this would cost about $15,000.

“Every nonprofit right, resources are always a challenge. But having a van like this helps us tremendously,” said McKernan.

While the founder of Mobility for Humanity said a vehicle for one family can help deeply, a vehicle for hundreds may do even more.

Eventually, when the time is right, Abide Omaha said they’ll donate the van for a family in need to keep.