Cooking with Rose

Rose or as many people know her, Momma Rose, lives at Mercy Housing’s Timbercreek Apartments in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the past six years, Timbercreek has been a solid and stable home for Rose as she faced many personal challenges and tragedies.

Cancer was one of those challenges.

Several years ago, Rose was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It was a scary diagnosis, but she was thankful for her doctors and their treatment plan. First, it was surgery, then chemo and radiation therapy. The treatments Rose received left her exhausted with little energy to enjoy the things she loved most — helping others. She had lost all motivation and had become very isolated.

It was during this challenging time that Rose became involved in Resident Services programming offered at Timbercreek. These crucial wrap-around services are provided free-of-charge to residents. Programs are offered in five key areas: Financial Stability, Health and Wellness, Out-of-School Time, Housing Stability, and Community Engagement. These programs helped boost Rose’s morale. She began to feel motivated again, get physically active, and be a resource to her neighbors.

It was a natural fit for Rose, with her love of cooking, to first get involved with the onsite cooking class. Learning fun ways to spice up any dish with others in her community was just what she needed. Cooking was a blast, and the camaraderie was even better!

“Cooking during Resident Services programs gave me the opportunity to do what I love again,” said Rose.

Rose did not stop there and soon began participating in many other classes being offered at Timbercreek. She became very engaged in the Feel Better program that promoted overall health and wellness through personal goal setting, nutrition, and exercise. This offered an opportunity for Rose to hone her cooking skills into healthy recipes and she learned easy ways to stay active.

Rose also found a new passion in connecting with her community and even helped distribute lunches to the school-age kids at Mercy Housing.

“These programs helped me to build a healthy lifestyle by exercising, creating activities, and gave me back my life, my pride, and my social skills. It gave me the ability to thrive,” said Rose.

Although many Resident Services programs were halted over the past year or shifted to virtual and take-home activities, the onsite food pantry stayed open and became a lifeline for many Mercy Housing residents. It has helped Rose keep food on her table by providing essentials like milk and eggs for her many recipes.

The food pantry continues to help Rose and other Mercy Housing residents as they navigate through the pandemic. Not only does it help alleviate the stress associated with food insecurity, but it connects residents to their neighbors that are so important during a crisis.

Rose beat cancer and chooses to have a positive attitude every day. She focuses on the future and is excited to grow fruits and vegetables with her son this summer. Rose also looks forward to making healthy smoothies for seniors in her community. Like her mother showed her, Rose is always ready to show compassion to others.

“I want to leave a legacy of respect and taking care of my family and friends,” said Rose.