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    Charity Drive- Back-to-School Backpack Drive


    OMAHA, NE —
    It’s the last leg of the annual 7 Can Help Kids Back-to-School Backpack drive with The Salvation Army. So far, more than 6,000 backpacks have been donated by the Omaha community, and stuffed by volunteers.

    Organizers say volunteers are working hard as donations continue to flow in.

    For example, dozens of backpacks and supplies were collected by Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group and dropped off Thursday morning.

    “We kind of came to the game a little bit late, but we really felt like our team was excited about the project. A lot of us have kids and so we know the cost of school supplies,” said Melissa Boldt with Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group.

    Workers from 2 Men And A Truck volunteered their time as well, loading boxes full of already-stuffed backpacks.

    “People are going to get colored pencils, crayons, notebooks, pens, erasers. Everything they need so that when they show up, they’re ready,” said Curt Vincentini, of The Salvation Army.

    Ensuring that every child, no matter their circumstance, is prepared to learn when they step into class.

    “I think the worst thing that could happen is a child comes to school and not have what they need while their peers and classmates show up with the things that they need,” Vincentini said.

    The Salvation Army said community members can still drop off donations at their campus near 36th and Cuming Streets.

    Backpacks will be distributed at The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center near 30th and Y Streets and at the North Corps Center at 24th and Pratt Streets, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    On Saturday, additional backpacks will be distributed at the Millard branch of the Omaha Public Library from 9 a.m. to noon.

    To get a backpack, parents or guardians must bring a photo I.D, proof of address and proof of school registration for the child.


    Charity Drive- Water Bottle Drive

    Caleb Sherman, 11, of Gretna, just wanted to collect some bottles of water to give to the homeless.

    “They always have like a really hard time, and people are really mean to them,” Caleb said.

    So between the camps and baseball games this summer, this soon-to-be sixth-grader set out to collect bottled water all though the month of June for the Open Door Mission — for a second time.

    Last year, he collected about 800 bottles of water. To boost his donations this time around, Caleb reached out to his community for help.

    “This year, I asked some baseball teams and the neighborhood,” he said.

    According to his mom, Tammy, it was a big step.

    “He’s typically reserved, shy. That is not something you’d normally see out of him,” she said.

    It worked better than Caleb expected.

    “The cool thing was, teams we didn’t even talk to — like one of the teams that was playing this other team — they mentioned it, and those guys event brought water,” Caleb said.

    And he didn’t stop there.

    “One of my friends’ dads works for a company,” Caleb said. “They donated a bunch of water.”

    So far this June, Caleb has collected a lot more bottles of water than he did last year: 7,500 bottles were sitting in the family’s garage Friday as his mom tried to figure out how to get them all over to the mission.

    “We’re still working on that,” Tammy said. “We don’t have anything in place yet.”

    But the community responded. Quickly.

    Mary Mueller, an Omaha realtor, donated use of a truck to help Caleb get his water to the mission.

    “It was so inspiring, what you guys are doing,” Mueller said to the family. “We wanted to help you guys.”

    Housing Market

    The Omaha Metro’s housing market is booming compared to the recent past. In fact, home sales are up 13% compared to just this same time last year. It’s easy to see that 2015 is off to a strong start. That’s good for sellers, good for buyers, and good for Omaha’s local economy. We’re seeing that interest rates are continuing to stay lower and therefore keeping buyers in the market. That leads to a low housing inventory in the area. And from there, it’s simple Economics 101: Supply & Demand. With a low supply of homes and a large demand from buyers, we’re seeing a fantastic trend for sellers.

    With houses “flying off the shelves”, as Jeff Cohn- owner of Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, puts it, sellers are getting great prices for their homes. On average, sellers can expect to get around 98-99% of their asking prices if a home is in a desirable location, in great condition, and priced appropriately. Cohn also goes on to say that Omaha’s sweet spot are homes priced in the $150-250,000 price range. How long is it taking to sell these kinds of homes? Months? Weeks? Try days and even hours.

    “I don’t think we’ve seen inventory this low in over eight or nine years, our group has sold over 200 properties already in 2015 alone.”, said Cohn. He then went on to say, “A lot of the houses we list, literally we’ll put a sign in the yard and have multiple offers within 24 hours.”

    Omaha’s economic health can be largely judged by how the local housing market is trending. With so many companies and jobs tied to real estate, it’s a great indicator that the metro economy is on the right path.

    Real estate experts are focused particularly on the “Millennial” Generation right now. Economists are finding that this generation is now entering the housing market with full force. Many people that fall within the age range of this generation are hitting a stride in their careers, thus giving them more income to put towards things like purchasing homes. It’s forecasted that the Millennials will be the driving force of real estate sales for the foreseeable future, much like the “Baby Boomer” Generation has in the last several decades.

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