Volunteers of America to leave Lewellen, Garden County after 38 years


Volunteers of America, which has been helping children and families in need in Garden County since 1984, announced the closure of VOA’s Western Nebraska office in Lewellen.

A national religious non-profit organization founded in 1896, the organization cited financial and staffing issues in its decision.

David Shumway, senior director of development and communications at the organization’s Northern Rockies office in Sheridan, Wyoming, said the company is working with community partners to transfer preschool and childcare services to other users.

“Unfortunately, like many non-profit organizations today, we are facing declining donations, and, on top of the impact of inflation and staffing issues, our programs are underfunded. .”

VOA “remained in financial trouble” during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

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VOA West Nebraska closed its community closet recycling store in nearby Oshkosh on Dec. 9, Shumway said.

Llewellen’s VOA Community Food Pantry, which serves eight counties, will change its hours of operation from 8 a.m. to noon until it is fully closed on Jan. 13, he said. The hours posted on the company’s website were 10am to 4pm, Monday through Thursday.

Shumway said VOA provides preschool and childcare services by co-locating primary schools in several Panhandle districts.

The organization wants to find a new provider because it “recognizes the importance of affordable services to support working families.”

VOA Western Nebraska worked with local school districts to launch the Sixpence Family Engagement Home Visiting Program in 2015. According to its website, it helps at-risk infants and toddlers by teaching families to “develop positive family dynamics.”

Shumway says VOA hopes to find someone to take over Sixpence. The service will continue to be offered “until we can transition” at the Oshkosh thrift store site at 112 Main His Street, he said.

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