Gobblers Go Fast Thanks to Generosity Of Omaha Law Firm Inserra & Kelley 12/2/14 12/01/14 11:30:21 PM
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John Inserra (left) and Craig Kelley are thrilled to help out during the holiday season.
Gobblers Go Fast Thanks to Generosity
Of Omaha Law Firm Inserra & Kelley
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
Employees, friends, kids and grandkids all turned out last Tuesday to help the law firm of Inserra & Kelley distribute 500 frozen turkeys to those in need, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Thanks to the generosity of John Inserra and Craig Kelley, along with No Frills Supermarkets/Bag ’n Save, Certified Transmission and Food Bank for the Heartland, the team held their Lawyers Against Hunger event for the third year.
No Frills sold them the turkeys at a discount and allowed them to use their parking lot at 4240 South 50th Street for distribution, Certified Transmission supplied the truck needed to hold 125 boxes, each containing four turkeys each – the birds weighing 10 to 11 pounds apiece.
Volunteers are easy to line up – “just give them a cool sweatshirt!” Inserra said. He said the staff love doing it and have organized a system on their own that facilitates unloading the turkeys, tagging them with a special message from the firm and distributing them. “I get out of the way for fear of disrupting their plan.”
A lot of kidding around accompanies the work. Smiles are everywhere. “It feels so good to give back,” he said.
“We’re so happy to do this,” Inserra said as he helped place turkeys on the distribution table. “The event was supposed to start at 2:30 p.m., but the line began forming at 1:30 and at 2 we decided to start handing them out.”
Those claiming turkeys had received redemption tickets after being identified by various charitable organizations. Brian Barks, director of development & communications for the Food Bank for the Heartland coordinated the gathering of those names. Each recipient’s name also went into a box for a chance to win $50 and $100 gift certificates from No Frills.
Barks said the need grows every year, even with Omaha’s very low unemployment rate. “What we’re dealing with is underemployment,” Barks said. The minimum wage increase will help some, but it won’t solve the problem.
When called on Wednesday, Pat Lewis, winner of the $100 certificate, said of her win, “That is absolutely fabulous. I thank God that people have a heart and that they share their wealth and the goodness of God.”
She said she is currently unemployed and “This really, really helps. The pantry will be filled. It’s awesome!”
Jayne Kanger, who won the $50 certificate, said, “This is a great program. This is my first year hearing about it and it has helped us out tremendously. I am disabled and have been struggling and this really, really really helps out.” She said seven family members would be at their Thanksgiving dinner.
This, of course, is why Inserra and Kelley do this and plan to continue to do it. They hope to grow it each year. Kelley said he hopes other law firms in Omaha and throughout Nebraska will join in their efforts, either teaming up with them, or spinning off their own giveaway, just as they did. “Just think how many we could impact,” Kelley said.
Inserra said turkey prices went up nearly 30 percent this year, but they didn’t cut down on the number of donations. They gave out the last of the turkeys right around the published quitting time of 5:30 p.m.
“It got pretty chilly the last hour, but it was all good,” Kelley said. He remembered last year, when the temperature was really freezing, so he was grateful that November 25 was for the most part a nice day.
For Inserra and Kelley, it started four years ago, when they learned of the program their good friend attorney Noble McIntyre in Oklahoma City had started: Lawyers Fighting Hunger.
The Omaha firm hijacked the name, tweaked it and created Lawyers Against Hunger.
Kelley wrote on his blog, “Inserra & Kelley is proud to have founded Lawyers Against Hunger in Nebraska in 2012 and to have presented our 3rd annual Thanksgiving event today when we personally handed out turkeys to 500 families in need that would not have otherwise had the means to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.
“We so enjoyed seeing the faces and smiles of those picking up their turkeys, and the gratitude of the recipients was an amazing and humbling way to kick off Thanksgiving with our own families.”
The greeting on the tag that went home with each turkey said: “Partnering with Food Bank for the Heartland, No Frills Supermarkets and Bag ’n Save, we are happy to have this opportunity to give back to the community. Our wish, during this Holiday season and year-round is to make a difference in the lives of those who could use a helping hand.”
A look back: In 2009, a number of agencies that feed the hungry had their funding cut for Thanksgiving. A group of Oklahoma attorneys decided to step up and help these groups out by raising funds to purchase the needed turkeys.
In 2010, Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law in Oklahoma City and Hugh M. Robert of Sherwood, McCormick & Robert in Tulsa decided to make the event even bigger.
Noble contacted a food distribution agency about purchasing Thanksgiving meals to be distributed in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
More than 50 firms and attorneys contributed to the effort and over 750 hundred boxes of pre-packaged Thanksgiving meals were purchased and distributed in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Over $30,000 was raised from lawyers/members of the Oklahoma Association for Justice which was used to purchase the meals. Those generous financial commitments came from lawyers all over the state and allowed the group to provide food for 4200 hungry Oklahomans.
As the need to feed the hungry in Oklahoma grew, David Bernstein of Bernstein Law Firm in Norman joined efforts in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The three formed Lawyers Against Hunger, Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger. This allowed all three to fundraise for Thanksgiving and keep funds donated in each donor’s community.
Programs like this have popped up across the country, all attorneys, banding together to feed the needy.
For more information on how you can be a part of Lawyers Against Hunger, call John Inserra or Craig Kelley at 402-391-4000.
From left, Food Bank of the Heartland’s Brian Barks, paralegal Susan Cerny and law firm partner Craig Kelley discuss the logistics of the giveaway.
Many hands make light work of unloading the truck full of turkeys. It’s fun too!