Donated Time Adds Up to 24 Hours of Impact

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July 28th, 2015

Children from an Omaha community take a break from collecting cans for a neighborhood food drive. The drive was organized as part of 24 Hours of Impact. (photo by Brandon McDermott, KVNO News)

Children from an Omaha community take a break from collecting cans for a neighborhood food drive. The drive was organized as part of 24 Hours of Impact. (photo by Brandon McDermott, KVNO News)

It’s said volunteering in your community can encourage civic responsibility, promote personal growth and bring people together who otherwise wouldn’t interact. This past weekend, hundreds of Omahans put this theory to the test, taking part in an event called “24 Hours of Impact”.


Most people are busy. Between work, home life, waiting in traffic, waiting at the doctor’s office, OR waiting at the DMV it’s hard to find extra time; let alone find time to give back.

So a group from Leadership Omaha thought what if they set aside one day, one 24-hour period, and get as many people as possible to volunteer for one hour? That’s it. And just like that, one hour of service, became 24 Hours of Impact.

Friday July 24th was Omaha’s first 24 Hours of Impact event. Hundreds volunteered to help with projects ranging from neighborhood clean-ups to taking care of horses, even playing poker with a few colorful characters at the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home.

Louis Garrod weighs his options while playing a hand of poker. (Photo by Ryan Robertson, KVNO News)

Louis Garrod weighs his options while playing a hand of poker. (Photo by Ryan Robertson, KVNO News)

Take for instance Louis Garrod, a Navy veteran who served during World War II. Garrod said he’s played cards in some beautiful places (South Pacific, South Atlantic, off the coast of Australia). Even though he once won $4300 in one hand, Garrod said he doesn’t play for money anymore, but for comradery he enjoys with friends.

Helping veterans feel better was why the dealer in Garrod’s poker game, and the announcer at the bingo game one table over were showed up at the Veterans Home. Wells Fargo hosted a gaming hour as a part of 24 Hours of Impact. Whitney Giles, an investigator with Wells Fargo, said 24 Hours of Impact should be an annual Omaha event.

“Because who doesn’t have an hour? A lot of people are like, ‘I don’t have time to volunteer.’ But if it’s really just an hour, who couldn’t find an hour? Do it on your lunch hour,” Giles said.

Wells Fargo is one of about 50 businesses to participate in this year’s 24 Hours of Impact. Hundreds more individuals chose to make their impact, by staying closer to home.

Michaela Smith, an Omaha business lawyer and mother of two, organized a food drive with other families from the neighborhood. It may have been the hottest day of the year, with a heat index in the triple digits, but Smith and a team of neighborhood kids pulled three red wagons up and down the streets, collecting cans and boxes of food to be given to the Stephens Center for Emergency Shelter.

Smith said giving back by helping those less fortunate is important, but she said it’s just as important to pass that lesson on to the next generation.

“I think we’ve got somewhere around 17 kids out here right now, and their parents, on the hottest day of the year. So that’s pretty good!” Smith said.

Mosah Goodman is one of the 7 co-founders of 24 Hours of Impact. He said, “for people who had to initiate an idea, launching it on zero dollars, we’re well on our way to reaching our first milestone of having a year’s worth of benefit in one day.”

It would take 8760 people donating one hour to cram a year’s worth of benefit into a single day. Thanks to social media, however, Goodman said maybe by next year 24 Hours of Impact could cram not just one year of benefit into a single day, but two years.

“If you check the Twitter feeds and the Facebook posts and just sort of the energy, I think we were even trending at one point, which I’m told is a good thing in the world of tweets—I think the energy around [24 Hours of Impact] is such, and the excitement and simplicity of it lends itself to people wanting to do it again next year. So we’ve heard nothing but good things and I think that’s what we’re expecting in the future,” Goodman said.

Mosah said many of the companies that took part in this year’s 24 Hours of Impact will be back next year. He and the other co-founders are also in the process of evaluating where they can improve upon their idea, so that it can grow into an annual event.

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