Monday, February 27, 2012

Working with Together, Inc

Last fall, my dad and I went on a tour at Together, Inc downtown on 16th and Cass.  I didn't know about the organization before this day, and I can honestly say a couple of hours there completely changed the way I see things.  

Together, Inc was started in Omaha in 1975 in response to the tornado which hit hard that year.  It was started as a collaborative effort between a few churches to provide basic needs: food, clothing, and shelter.  They realized people in Omaha needed that help everyday, so they opened their free services year round.  Today, Together, Inc is a food bank supplying other food pantries in the Omaha area, they provide rent and utility assistance, and have a store where clients can shop for free.  

We toured their storage space for the USDA food they receive, and at the time I could have done cartwheels in the space.  They told us their USDA deliveries, which had been pretty steady, were desperately needed and not coming as often.  Before deliveries slowed, they said you could barely walk through the room around the pallets.  There wasn't much USDA food to choose from, and shelves were looking bare.  

After our tour, we sat around a table and tried coming up with ways we, Aksarben Cinema, could help their cause.  We all came up with a great idea, and the result has been amazing!  Give Us Your Food, We'll Give You Ours is the weekly campaign we are running for Together, Inc.  On Sunday's, we ask our customers to bring in a canned good or non-perishable item, and we give them free popcorn in return.  We do this every Sunday, with no end in sight.  It is such an easy way for us to involve our customers, and spread the word about  the great work Together is doing.

After we started this program, and seeing a great response, we were awarded the 'Compassion' award at the Together, Inc luncheon this past fall.  While, we don't do any of this for the recognition, it was really nice to be honored this way.

We have a Free Family Flicks program we do twice a year, in the winter and summer. This year we changed it up this time around to make it Free*.  Customers are invited to see a family film for free with the donation of a canned good, or $1 donation per person.  All of the proceeds are going straight to Together, Inc.  The response from our customers has been so wonderful.  Some customers have commented they like the way it sets an example for their children to help those less fortunate than them.  

When you think about hunger and homelessness, you don't think about it happening here in Omaha.  Maybe it's because it isn't right in front of your face, or you don't want to think it is an issue, but we need to recognize it and do what we can.  The community service aspect of my job here at the theatre, is my absolute favorite part. I have learned so much about so many organizations in the area doing everything they can to help those that need it.  If you want to get involved with Together, Inc and volunteer, give them a call.  I went down for a morning and worked the check in desk for clients and helped organize clothes in the store. Even a couple hours makes a difference.  Their number is (402) 345-8047.  

Thank you to everyone who has donated!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I decided to start this blog to be able to give the back story on the things we decide to do here at Aksarben Cinema. We are a very organic group, and like to do things a little different. We are a local and independent theatre, which means we are the ones in control of the image we are giving out every day with each customer that comes through our doors.

The focus of this blog is going to be a little all over the place giving you insight into pieces of our world including our community service, booking of film, technology, development in the area, and probably more. We tend to be a group that flies by the seat of our pants, but I like that about us.