Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Free Calls From UK To Help Reconnect

Many of us have Mom, or Dad on speed dial, but for those without a home and without a phone, it could be years before they re-connect with loved ones and you can free international calls to South Africa. U.S. Cellular provided Omaha area homeless with an opportunity to dial out.

A hot meal on a cold, snowy Thursday night packed the Siena Francis house for dinner, "As soon as the weather turned cold, we've had a jump in numbers of people seeking shelter," says Mike Saklar, who runs the shelter.

The cold isn't just on the outside, those staying at the Siena Francis House really feel it emotionally. "At this time of year, people living in homeless shelters are lonely and they're reminiscing and maybe remembering better times," says Mike Saklar.

But on Thursday night, a life line.

"It's snowing here!" Rain Skenandore said to the person on the other end of the line. U.S. Cellular came in to help people like Rain reconnect with her best friend in Las Vegas.

"Hey Chris, it's your mother!" Wendy Little Elk said cheerfully to her son.

"It means the world to me, because my kids are you know, my world and my grand kids, so its nice to be able to go and call and tell them Merry Christmas," she says.

Not everyone has a list of numbers, but even with just a name, U.S. Cellular staff has been able to track down long lost relatives.

"They're able to let them know where their at, where their located, some of their family may not even know that they are in Omaha. So it's a really good opportunity for them to find some of those connections that they have lost along the way," says U.S. Cellular manager, Lindsay Brown.

Connections that warm hearts on cold snowy nights!

"I just hope everyone gets free calls from UK to somebody. You know, everyone needs a hello or another voice on the other end, just to make them happy. Even if it's one phone call. It works," says Rain Skenandore.

The Siena Francis house sees around 12 to 15 new faces a night, people and families that have never been homeless.

In 2010, they gave away about four thousand coats, and throughout the month, Saklar says, he expects to see 1,000 individuals come through the door.

They run on donations anyone wanting to help can go to the Siena Francis House Web site: http://www.inclusiveinternationalcalls.com/

All donation items can be dropped off to the loading dock of the Siena/Francis House Baright Shelter, located at 1111 North 17th Street. The loading dock is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day.


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