Local organization celebrating anniversary by increasing giving

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Open Door Mission is celebrating its 64th anniversary this week by helping more of the area's less fortunate.

The mission is enhancing its annual turkey giveaway by giving clients more time to register and more choices for their Thanksgiving day meal. Now, they can even choose ham instead of turkey.

The long lines at the Open Door Mission's Turkey and Fixings Program shows the need for food is great in the community.

"In the past it's only been a one day only registration, and now you'll have 20 business days in the month of November that you could come and not just register but on the same day take your items with you," President and CEO Candace Gregory said.

Carol Petties is taking Thanksgiving dinner home. She said the program really helps at this time of year.

"It helps me 'cause I don't have the money for like the Thanksgiving time, so it helps me and my four children out," Petties said.

The program also helps her save money for other needs at home.

"It helps if my kids need like clothes that I can't provide. This would help me save money," Petties said.

Gregory said the help provided might be enough to keep those struggling to meet ends meet in their homes and out of the shelter.

"Any time we can help someone who's working, trying to make ends meet, empower them to use their cash flow, pay their rent, their mortgage, keep their heat and lights on, put gas in their car to go to work... If we can supplement their income with a turkey or ham, a food pantry box or a package of diapers, or a winter coat, and we've prevented them from becoming homeless... much more cost effective for taxpayers in our community. Also, more effective for the Open Door Mission as well," Gregory said.

The last few years the mission served 5,000 turkey and fixing boxes. They expect that number to increase this year.