The latest round of warmer-than-normal weather is causing a crisis for some organizations that serve the needy. Candace Gregory, C.E.O. of the Open Door Mission in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says the agency’s food pantries have been very busy.

“For the last week-and-a-half, we’ve had families literally coming in looking for t-shirts, shorts and box fans,” Gregory says, “things that we don’t even have ready until May.” Gregory is asking the public for help with donations, especially of electric fans.

“When you’re out picking up a box fan, if you can think of picking up one for someone else that’s in need, it will go a long way,” she says. A new trend has developed over the past 18 months. Gregory says many middle-class families are coming to the mission to get food assistance, people who used to be regular donors or volunteers. She says three-quarters of the people they serve are strictly seeking food assistance.

Gregory says because of the mild winter, food donations dropped. She says, “For us, serving 17-hundred meals a day, it has been a challenge because we haven’t had as many food drives this winter.” Gregory says their shelves are bare and they could use donations of food, clothing and other household items. Four out of ten people served by the Omaha-based mission are Iowans. Learn more at: ““.