Douglas County Sheriff's Department deputies converged on Omaha's Open Door Mission Sunday afternoon. With some help from an anonymous donor, the deputies delivered 150 turkeys.
The deputies had a big goal this holiday season. “Make sure everybody gets something to eat on Christmas.”
Deputy Austin Pratt saw this as an opportunity to teach his kids the value of volunteering. “Feels good, giving back to the community. We want to teach our kids to give back to the community also, that's why we're down here trying to help out.”
Those at the mission said it's always special to those they serve to receive donated meals, especially this time of year. “We kind of take it for granted to have turkey and ham on our tables, but for our guys to actually have a meal in front of them on such an occasion, it's probably the most special thing in the world to see,” said Open Door Mission head chef Claudzell Meeks, who added the mission sees a 36 percent increase in the number of people coming to the shelter this time of year.
The added food in the kitchen gives him more options on what to prepare. “I have a unique job here of coming up with different menu items with what we have on hand, so we wouldn't want to say, serve turkey and stuffing every day per se, but we could serve it in different ways like cacciatore, barbecue turkey sandwiches, cream of turkey, turkey soup. There's a lot of different ways you could do it."
The Douglas County Sheriff's Department has been busy this month. It held its Shop With A Sheriff event earlier, helping provide Christmas gifts to 85 children.