Westgate Speaker Series
Time & Location
About the Event
Westgate Neighborhood Association will host a program on Tuesday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m. at West Hills Church, 82nd and Hascall Streets. The subject will be the homeless, panhandlers and what can be done to help them, including some who can be seen regularly in and around Westgate.
Speakers will include representatives from a downtown Omaha cafe that helps the downtrodden in several ways. A local therapist will explain why homelessness, addictions and poverty exist and how victims can be helped. Table Grace Cafe, at 1611 1/2 Farnam Street, has been donation-based for more than 10 years. It evolved from Table Grace Ministries, founded in 2008 by Simone and Matt Weber. It serves lunch Monday through Saturday and its patrons are those who live or work in the area including attorneys, working poor, executives and homeless. The café delivers a dignified and equitable platform to nourish all who are hungry. In 2018 they launched Mobile Grace Food Truck to take the mission beyond downtown.
Mary Ziska is scheduled to speak at the meeting. Mary was homeless when she came to Table Grace Café. She says she remembers being treated with dignity and given a healthy meal after volunteering for several minutes. She found herself in the HERO program at the Stephen Center a few years later and returned to Table Grace Cafe to volunteer as part of her recovery. Now Mary is a mainstay on the staff of Table Grace, serving at the café, on the food truck and sharing her story to inspire others who may be caught in a cycle of homelessness and addiction. She is living proof that there is a better future. More info at TableGraceCafe.com.
Westgate Neighborhood Association produces these meetings in conjunction with the Westgate Community Foundation. There is no admission fee and the programs are open to all. The association and the foundation aim to make Westgate a better place, by inviting speakers they think the neighborhood will enjoy and learn from, coordinating the spring and fall cleanup days, organizing events such as Westgate's National Night Out in August and, most recently, planting the pollinator garden next to Westgate Pool.
The association plans to have four speaker meetings each year and would encourage topics from the neighborhood. Association board members are Terry Anderson, Stephanie Elrod, Liz Koepp and James D'Agata. The door is open for more volunteer board members.