COVID-19 Won’t Stop Winter Night Watch
Every weekday evening from late November to late February, volunteers stock two Salvation Army mobile food trucks with hot meals, beverages and winter outerwear and hit the streets in Omaha to serve the homeless and near homeless on the coldest nights of the year.
This winter marks the 33rd year of operation for the Winter Night Watch mobile food program. Although distribution will work a little differently amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the end goal is the same: to provide a meal to those most in need in the Omaha metro.
Pre-packaged hot sandwiches, snacks and drinks will be available at a grab-and-go table set up outside the parked food truck. Volunteers will also set out an array of winter coats, gloves, hats and socks on a second table for those who are in need of warm outerwear.
Depending on the weather, at the height of the winter season as many as 400 individuals per night visit the food trucks, which make two stops each on two different routes in Omaha. During the 2019-2020 season, Winter Night Watch served more than 11,000 meals to those struggling to survive.
Longtime Winter Night Watch volunteer Scott Brown appreciates the opportunity to serve in the community, especially on the coldest nights. “I just enjoy getting out there and helping folks out,” said Brown, who is retired from the U.S. Army. “You see someone who is really, really hurting, and you are able to do them some good, at least for that night.”
Winter Night Watch depends on volunteers to help drive the food trucks and assist with the distribution of meals and winterwear at the stops. Each truck requires four volunteers for every three-hour shift. Email Melissa Figueroa or call (402) 898-5894 to learn more or to sign up.
The Salvation Army is currently accepting donations of winter coats for women and men (especially men’s sizes XL, 2XL and 3XL), as well as socks for men. Please call (402) 898-5894 to arrange a time to drop off any donations.